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Full text of "Report of the Royal Commission on Violence in the Communications Industry."

Digitized by tine Internet Arcliive 

in 2011 witli funding from 

Tine Law Foundation of Ontario & tine Ontario Council of University Libraries 



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Report of 



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Violence in the 
Communications Industry 




The Media 
Industries: 
From Here 
to Where? 





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Report of 

The Royal Commission on 
Violence in the 
Communications Industry 



Volume 




The Media 
Industries: 
From Here 
to Where? 



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Published by 

The Royal Commission on \ lolence 

in the Communications Industry 

Printed by 

J C Thatcher. 

Queen's Printer for Ontario 

Available from the 

Publications Centre 

Ministry of Government Services 

Queen's Park 

Toronto. Ontario 

or 

Ontario Government Book Store 

880 Bay Street 

Toronto. Ontario 



The Royal Commission on Violence in the 
Communications Industry was established by Order in 
Council in May 1975 and published an Interim Report 
in January 1976. It held hearings throughout the 
Province of Ontario from October 1975 lo May 1976. 

A selection of public briefs, reports of foreign 
consultations and the conclusions and 
recommendations of The Roval Commission on 
Violence in the Communications Industry are 
published m Volume I. which is available in French 
and in English. 

The Commission's Bibliography comprises Volume II 

Twenty-eight independent studies of the media were 
undertaken for The Commission and are contained in 
Volumes III to\ II 



Order-in-Council 

Order-in-Council approved by Her Honour ihe Lieulenani 
Governor, dated the 7th day of May, AD. 1975. 

Upon the recommendation of the Honourable the Premier, the 
Committee in Council advLse that pursuant to the provisions of The 
Public Inquiries Act, 1971. S.O. 1971. Chapter 49. a Commission be 
issued appointing 

The Honourable Julia Verlyn LaMarsh. p.c. Q.c. ll.d.. 
Judge Lucien Arthur Beaulieu. and 
Scott Alexander Young, 

and naming the said Julia Verlyn LaMarsh as Chairman thereof, to 
study the possible harm to the public interest of the increasing 
exploitation of violence in the communications industry: and that the 
Commission be empowered and instructed: 

1. to study the effects on society of the increasing exhibition of 
violence in the communications industry; 

2. to determine if there is any connection or a cause and effect 
relationship bel\seen this phenomenon and the incidence of violent 
crime in society: 

3. to hold public hearings to enable groups and organizations, 
individual citizens and representatives of the industry to make known 
their views on the subject; 

4. to make appropriate recommendations, if warranted, on any 
measures that should be taken by the Government of Ontario, by 
other levels of Government, by the general public and by the 
industry. 

The Committee further advise that pursuant to the said Public 
Inquiries Act, the said Commissioners shall have the power of 
summoning any person and requiring such person to give evidence on 
oath and to produce such documents and things as the Commissioners 
deem requisite for the full investigation of the matters to he 
examined. 

And the Committee further advise that all Government ministries. 
boards, agencies and committees shall assist, to the fullest extent, the 
said Commissioners who. in order to carry out their duties and 
functions, shall have the power and authority to engage such staff, 
secretarial and otherwise, and technical advisers as they deem proper, 
at rates of remuneration and reimbursement to be approved b\ the 
Management Board of Cabinet. 



The Royal Commission 
on Violence in the 
Communications Industry 



J. V. LaMarsh. Chairman 

L. A. Beaulieu, Commissioner 

Scotl A. Young, Commissioner 

Administration 

Anne Cameron, Director 

Jeanne Langford* 
Flora McAfee 
Frances Kieran 
C. Watson-White* 
Robert Wright* 

Public Participation 

Sheila Kieran, Director 

Lynda Douglas** 
Louise Rabin 
Patricia Robinson* 
Marcia Topp** 

Research 

C. K. Marchant, Director 

Barbara Leonard, Senior Research Associate 

Gail Corbett 
David Johnson 
Carol Newall** 
Timm Zemanek 
Corinne Korzen* 
Valerie Clare 
Kathleen D'Souza** 
Linda Gaylard 
Penny Nettletbld 
Kelvin Pearcey 



1975 
•1976 



Contents of Volumes 



*1 Approaches, Conclusions and Recommendations 

The Approaches 

The Research 

Letting the People Speak 

The Conclusions 

The Recommendations 

Selections from the Briefs 

Summary of Surveys 

A List of Participants 

Foreign Consultations 

International Agencies 

Chart: Elements in Television, Film and the Press 

in 16 Countries 

Descriptions of Television, Film and the Press in 

16 Countries 

Research Organizations 

Chronology of Research, Studies and Policies 

Related to the Communications Industry 

2 Violence and the Media: A Bibliography 

3 Violence in Television, Films and News 

A Content Analysis of Entertamment 

Television Programming— T.M. Williams. M. 

Zabrack. L. Joy 

Television Crime Drama: A Mythological 

Interpretation -J. Taylor 

Images of Different Worlds: An Analysis of 

English-and-French-language Television— 

A.H. Caron (in French and English) 

A Content Analysis of Feature Films-J. Linton 

and G. Jowett 

Content Analysis of the News Media: 

Newspapers and Television— D. Gordon and B. 

Singer 

Content Analysis of the News Media: 

Radio— D. Gordon and L. Ibson 

4 Violence in Print and Music 

The Control of Mass Entertainment Media in 

Canada, the United States and Great Britain: 

Historical Surveys— G. Jowett, P. Reath and 

M. Schouten 

Speakmg the Unspeakable: Violence in the 

Literature of Our Time-R. Fulford 

Violence in Literature for Children and Young 

AduUs-Claire England 

Magazines and Violence— E. Beattie 

Violence and Popular Music— P. Goddard 



5 Learning from the Media 

Television Violence Effects: Issues and 

Evidence— R. Goranson 

Television and Pro-Social Behaviour— 

P. Rushton 

Replications of Media Violence— P. Stanley and 

B. Riera 

Studies of Television and Youth Sports— 

A. McCabe and D. Moriarty 

The News Media and Perceptions of 

Violence-A. Doob and G. Macdonald 

Collective Conflict, Violence and the 

Media— R. Jackson. M. Kelly and T. Mitchell 

6 Vulnerability to Media Effects 

Effects of Television on Children and Youth: A 

Development Approach— G. Fouts 

Television and the Family as Agents for 

Socialization— F. Rainsberry 

Violence, the Media and Mental Disorder— 

J. Renner 

Institutionahzed Populations' Views on 

Violence and the Media— J. Renner 

Viewers' Perceptions of Selected Television 

Programs— E. Tate 

7 The Media Industries: From Here to Where? 

A Descriptive Study of Perceptions and 

Attitudes among Journalists in Ontario— 

A.M. Osier 

An Analysis of Some News-flow Patterns and 

Influences in Ontario— A.M. Osier 

Economic Determinants of Violence in 

Television and Motion Pictures and the 

Implications of Newer Technologies— 

H. Edmunds and J. Strick 

Future Mass Media— G. Thompson 

Alternatives for Canadian Television— 

S. Grifliths (in English and French) 

Constitutional Jurisdiction over Violence in the 

Mass Media Industries-P. Hogg 



'Ce volume csl public cj^alcmeni en fnirniiis. 



Contents of Volume Seven 

A Descriptive Study of Perceptions and 
Attitudes among Journalists in Ontario 
by Andrew M. Osier 1 

An Analysis of Some News-Flow Patterns 
and Influences in Ontario 
by Andrew M. Osier 47 

Economic Determinants of Violence in 
Television and Motion Pictures and the 
Implications of Newer Technologies 
by Hugh H. Edmunds and John St rick 71 

Future Mass Media 

by Gordon B. Thompson 185 

Alternatives for Canadian Television 
by Stuart Griffiths 207 

Projet de refonte de la television 

canadienne 

by Stuart Griffiths 253 

Constitutional Jurisdiction over 
Violence in the Mass Media Industries 
by Peter W. Hogg 299 



A Descriptive 
Study of 
Perceptions and 
Attitudes 

Among Journalists 
in Ontario 



Andrew M. Osier 



The Centre for Canadian Communication Studies 
University of Windsor 
Windsor, Ontario 



Contents 

Introduction Page 4 

Chapter 1 News; Defining All That's Fit to Print 5 

2 Violence: "'Nobody Wants to Read About Good People" 10 

3 Perceptions: The News Person's World 13 

4 Ethics, Responsibility and Regulation 20 

5 Conclusions and Suggestions 26 

Endnotes 32 

Appendix A The Questionnaire 33 

B Table: Best News Stories Indentified by Interview Subjects 35 

C Some Codes of Ethics 36 

D Annotated Bibliography 38 



Acknowledgements 

The writer acknowledges with gratitude the excellent 
work of Miss Monica Schoutens, who prepared the 
extensive bibliography appended to this report; and the 
able assistance of Mrs. Margaret Ecciestone, who 
undertook the difficult task of transcribing the tapes, 
and did the work with such painstaking accuracy. 

Finally, a special word of thanks to the many men 
and women in newsrooms across Ontario who partici- 
pated in the interview process. Many of the interviews 
took more than an hour to complete; without exception, 
the interview subjects were patient and courteous, and 
gave thoughtful and forthright responses to the many 
questions. 



Introduction 

The gathering and processing of news is paradoxically 
one of the most blatantly visible of all social 
phenomena and, at the same time, one of the least 
studied. It is certainly one of the least understood by the 
public at large. The work of the news person, of course. 
is basically to tell his community about thousands of 
ordinary and earthshaking things that collectively 
involve millions of people from every corner of the 
world, especiallv that corner where home happens to be, 
each and every day of the year. This is an enormous 
task, involving the selection, writing, and general 
processing into news of truly incredible volumes of raw 
information. Like the harried shoemaker whose own 
children went barefoot, the news fraternity rarely finds 
the time or the energy to tell its own important story. 
Or, it may be that news people, like so many of the rest 
of us when asked to describe our work do not see the 
significance and newsworthiness of their own daily 
routines. 

Misleading stereotyped images of news people 
abound, as they do of any group about whom infor- 
mation is lacking. Like all stereotypes, these are worse 
than useless. They say nothing about the tentative, 
almost shy, approach to life that is so much more 
typical of news people than the gross caricatures of 
Hollywood would have us believe. They give no hint of 
the grinding, boring routine and sheer hard work that 
constitute the larger part of the news person's working 
Ufe. Finally, the stereotypes do hint at some of the 
frailties and problems in the newsgathering business - 
the cynicism, the sensationalism, the violence, the 
simplism, and the lack of a sense of the importance of 
yesterday and tomorrow. But they do it in a distorted 
way that only generates misunderstanding and 
resentment among news people, and confusion - 
occasionally fear - among their reading and viewing 
clients. 

This study is essentially descriptive. Each chapter 
except the last one. in which a number of conclusions 
are drawn and suggestions made, describes rather than 
analyzes an element of the newsgathering process, the 
attitudes and perceptions of the people involved, the 
environment in which they work. The research material 
comes from the news people themselves, the men and 
women in newsrooms and television stations across 
Ontario. The writer regarded his work as being 
primarily to sort and occasionally to interpret, their 
many descriptions, anecdotes, and comments, and to 
organize them into a logical and meaningful whole. 

The method of the study was simple, an interview 
process not unlike that commonly used by news people 
themselves in gathering imformation. A 32-item 
questionnaire was developed (Appendix A). The 
questions were put to 30 newspaper and television news 
people during August. September, and October. 1976: 
the answers were tape-recorded, and later transcribed 



and collated to provide the portrait of the news business 
offered in the following pages. Every effort was made to 
keep the interview situations as spontaneous as possible, 
and only in one case was a subject telephoned for an 
appointment in advance. We simply walked into 
newsrooms and sought people who could take the time 
to talk with us. The people we talked with were open, 
frank, and relaxed; only once, in a small television news 
operation, were we confronted with hostility and an 
obvious mistrust of our research motives. 

Despite the informality of the interview process, and 
the casual approach to subject selection, we were 
careful to include all sorts and conditions of news 
people in the interview sample. Subjects were inter- 
viewed in eight Ontano communities: Windsor. 
London, Kitchener, Toronto, Oshawa, Sudbury, Belle- 
ville, and Peterborough. Sixteen of the people inter- 
viewed worked for newspapers. 12 for television news 
operations, and two for a major wire service: collec- 
tively, they represented nine daily newspapers, five 
television stations, and, of course, one wire service. 

The ages of our subjects ranged from 21 to the mid- 
sixties: 23 of the subjects were men and seven were 
women - the proportion of women in the sample being 
somewhat larger than their actual representation in the 
business. All levels of responsibility were represented in 
the sample: sixteen worked as reporters: five were 
columnists, bureau chiefs, or otherwise had responsi- 
bility somewhat beyond the reportorial level: and nine 
were senior editors or news directors. 



Chapter One 

News: Defining All That's Fit to Print 



News is Israel's commando raid on the airport at 
Entebbe: news is organized labour's day of national 
protest against the Canadian government's anti- 
inflation program: and news is a young woman reporter 
in Peterborough findmg a body under her television 
studio's transmission mast. News or, more precisely, 
newsworthiness - is a quality apparently inherent in 
certain human events and situations, often mystifying to 
the layman, and especially to anyone who suddenly 
finds himself for the first time the object of a reporter's 
attention. Newsgatherers and processors seem to 
confidently and intuitively recognize news when they 
run into it. 

It is by illustration and example, not by precise and 
abstracted definition, that news people universally 
attempt to define "news": they can do this eloquently, 
assertively, and at length. Entebbe, the labour 
movement's day of protest, and the body under the 
television mast - these are all newsworthy situations, 
and every reporter would identify them as such. But ask 
a news person to define the phenomenon of newswor- 
thiness in the abstract, and, characteristically, he or she 
will be hard pressed to oblige. 

A very senior and very excellent editor on a Toronto 
newspaper was typical. In response to our third 
question, seeking the abstracted definition of news, he 
could tell us only that a news story must "inform". As 
an afterthought, he added that if a story "entertains" 
the reader as well, so much the better. But the same 
man. when asked to name specific stories which excited 
him, and to describe the elements which made them 
memorable, was much more articulate and, indirectly, 
much more informative. 

The Israeli raid on Entebbe Airport was beyond any 
doubt the biggest story of the decade, he told us. "And 
we responded in this newsroom with every resource we 
had, and just kept it going for days and days to show 
people how there may not have been anything compa- 
rable carried out even in World War II." 

And what qualities did the Entebbe story have that it 
merited such a marshalling of newsroom resources? 

"Very, very high drama. The national dedication of 
the Israeli rescue squad. Ihe underlying principle of a 



country under siege deciding it wouldn't pay blackmail, 
and going to fantastic lengths to pluck the source of the 
ransom away from the ransomer. 

"You know, that story had everything. It had a sense 
of history about it." 

Another interview subject, a reflective and scholarly 
man, long since removed from the hurly-burly of the 
newsroom and now directing the daily production of 
the editorial page of a large Western Ontario 
newspaper, also placed Entebbe very high on his list of 
significant recent news happenings. 

"It's the risk involved," he explained. "The potential 
implications internationally of something like that, plus 
just the adventure." An important clement in his under- 
standing of Entebbe as the almost-perfect news story 
from the newsman's point of view was this: "To a 
certain extent [there is) the gratification I suppose some 
people might get in reading a story of this kind. 
Hostages have been taken and a country deals with it in 
this way - a great deal of meticulous planning and 
daring, bravado, if you like." 

Gratification is the kev word here, the notion that the 
ideal news story will entertain the reader in some way. 
even serve as a fantasy fulfilment vehicle. This inter- 
esting notion is discussed below, along with other 
insights gleaned during the interview process. But for 
the moment, let's stay with the problem of the news 
person's difficulty in producing an abstracted definition 
of news. 

Newsrooms are full of whimsical aphorisms about 
news, but these are rarely more than tangentially 
descriptive. Typical is the Amencan Leo Rosten's semi- 
serious quip: "To many newspapermen, no news is bad 
news, good news is dull news, and bad news makes 
marvellous copy ." 

Romantic notions about the nature of news and the 
reporter's ability to seek it out also abound. These 
deserve some mention here, not because there is anv 
substantive logic behind them, but simply because they 
are surprisingly prevalent in newsrooms everywhere and 
thev apparently help shape the journalistic ethos. 
Certainly their widespread presence, half-believed 
though they may be, supports the argument that news 



people understand the news phenomenon intuitively 
rather than rationalW- There is, for instance, the "nose 
for news" which, it would seem, is a sort of special 
olfactory talent God-given to reporters and, perhaps, to 
bloodhounds. City editors since time immemonal have 
looked for this mythic news nose in aspiring young 
reporters. Their basic assumption seems to be that if it 
isn't present, a youngster can no more hope to be 
trained as a journalist than a child with a tin ear can 
hope to be trained as a concert pianist. 

Phyllis Wilson, a teacher of journalism at Carleton 
University, gives this tongue-in-cheek description of the 
romantic notion that the ability to perceive news is 
matter of talent: 

There is a belief, widespread in the news world, that the recog- 
nition of news is intuitive, that it is a facuUy with which the 
select are born not bred, that a Geiger counter clicks in the 
heads of the gifted few in proximity to the uranium of news.' 

When the whimsy and romance of newsroom tradition 
are moved gently aside, and the news person is obliged 
to deal directly and conceptually with what constitutes 
news, he does so reluctantly and hesitantly. But at least 
the framework of a definition in the abstract begins to 
emerge. It runs something like this: News must be of 
interest to a great many people in the reading, viewing, 
or listening audience: ideally, it will be of importance to 
them as well. Twenty-eight of our 30 interview subjects 
offered versions of the interest-importance concept in 
response to our third question seeking the conceptual 
definition. A third ingredient, suggested by 23 of the 
subjects, was immediacy - immediacy in both the 
temporal and geographic senses of the word. Simply 
stated, this means that news is considered stale if it is 
more than half a day old, a time frame that reduces to 
mere hours in the case of the electronic media. 
Geographically, the closer to home a given event 
occurs, the greater the emphasis it is likely to receive in 
print or broadcast, relative to other items of comparable 
information content. 

The response to the third question given by a London 
editor was, "Well, it [news] has to involve a great 
number of people either directly or peripherally, and ifs 
got to be of some interest." A reporter in Peterborough 
replied, "It's the unusual, it's the entertaining. It's what 
I need to know to be a reasonable, responsible human 
being." A Sudbury television reporter explained, "If it 
aflTects people's lives, if it interests them - that makes it 
newsworthy." 

A copy editor in London said, "Well, I believe that 
whatever it is that has happened (the newsworthy event] 
must affect or influence or interest a wide cross-section 
of people." 

The immediacy element emerged in this response 
from another reporter in Peterborough: ". . . how many 
people it affects, and how fresh it is. You can't keep 
rehashing a story, even if it is a big story. And you have 
to remember that story might be big here but not be big 
in Toronto." Finally, a columnist in Windsor 



responded, "Does it matter to people who are reading 
your newspaper? What's news in Windsor is not neces- 
sarily news in Sudbury. I think there's a great responsi- 
bility to remember that newsworthiness is something 
people want to know about, and what they want to 
know about is what's going on where they are." 

Immediacy plus interest plus importance - these basic 
and, in themselves, not especially revealing generalities 
about the nature of news can be found in any 
journalism school text on news writing and reporting. 
Professor Mitchell Charnley, for instance, agrees with 
the majority of our interview subjects in this definition 
of news in his standard book on journalism fundamen- 
tals: "News is the timely report of facts or opinion that 
hold interest or importance, or both, for a considerable 
number of people. "- 

It is clear that journalists (and journalism professors, 
too, it seems) have diflRculty dealing abstractly with the 
concept of news in any subtle way. The three words - 
interest, importance, and immediacy - become much 
more significant and descriptive of journalism's realities, 
however, when they are examined in the working 
context. This is the mental environment in which most 
journalistic decisions are taken about news selection, 
writing and, editing on a day-to-day basis. The answers 
to the first two questions especially the second are nch 
in indirect commentary on the nature of news from this 
intuitive perspective. In these responses, the subtle but 
critical elements present in the news preparation 
process begin to emerge. These point to wornsome 
potentialities for distortion that are automatically built 
in to the process of producing the daily portrait of 
reality painted by the mass media. 

The most significant of these problematic elements 
has to do with the understanding most news people 
bring to "importance" and "interest" as primary ingre- 
dients of news. The typical news person seems intui- 
tively to comprehend these qualities - such a tidily 
matched and logical pair in our abstracted definition in 
such a way that he frequently finds himself confronted 
with situations where "important" news is umnteresting, 
and "interesting" news is unimportant. When choices 
must be made and they very often must, given the 
enormous volumes of available material and the severe 
limitations of publishing space or broadcast time the 
interesting but relatively unimportant item is more 
likely to be given the higher priority. 

There is sense of this in the words of a London copy 
editor: "Perhaps I'm jaded by the constant flow of 
words, words, words across the desk, but it's the offbeat 
stuff that appeals to me . . . often the little items. You 
read them, you get amazed, or angry, or amused, 
hopefully, and that's what makes a news story for me." 

And, perhaps even more pertinently, a senior editor 
in Windsor commented: "You have to ask your.self how 
many readers would be interested in this story. TTiis 
applies to important, but perhaps not interesting stories. 



but it also applies to very interesting stories that are not 
important. 

"And in that 1 mean the offbeat and the funny, 
peculiar stories, if vou like. Something that happens to a 
person that is very offbeat or unusual. Maybe it doesn't 
have earthshaking ramifications, but people like to read 
about it." 

News people seem to understand the word 
"interesting" as though it were a synonym for 
"entertaining", and it is the conventional wisdom of the 
newsroom that the reader or viewer must be entertained 
if his interest is to be held for longer than the few 
seconds required to scan a headline, or hear the bulleted 
introduction to a newscast. Though newspapers and 
television stations regularly carry out extensive and 
sophisticated surveys of their audiences' reading and 
viewing behaviour, the resultant data rarely find their 
way to the working levels of the newsroom. Such data 
would provide rather less than a perfect standard for 
newsroom personnel in many respects, obviously. But, 
as matters now stand, most working news people have 
nothing more scientific than their intuition and their 
traditions to guide them in deciding what items might 
interest - that is to say, entertain - the reader or viewer. 

It is, for instance, conventionally accepted that an 
interesting story is a graphic story. Ideally, the material 
being written about will require the use of concrete 
nouns, active verbs, and adjectives that describe real 
things and real emotions. In television, of course, this 
means that the "good stuff provides dramatic film 
clips. Print newsmen have shared with novelists for 
years the knowledge that every human brain comes 
equipped with a sort of mini movie screen; if the reader 
is to be grabbed and held, the words on the page must 
be transformed into images on this mental screen. 

It is also the conventional wisdom of the newsroom 
that Walter Mitty, James Thurber's pathetic character 
who fantasized away the boredom of his painfully 
average life by daydreaming himself into a thousand 
heroic roles, is alive and well in every newspaper reader 
and every television viewer. News people call this 
phenomenon "human interest". It means writing about 
the extraordinary things that happen to other people in 
such a way that the reader or viewer can identify and. 
for a moment, share in something different. The 
category includes the tragedies and triumphs of other 
lives - the hardship and adventure, the bravery and 
cowardice, the fame and infamv. and, quite often, 
simply the peculiar and difi'erent. This last concept is 
described in the hoary newsroom aphorism which tells 
us: "It isn't news if a dog bites a man. but if a man bites 
a dog. . . ." 

Finally, news people believe that audiences stay with 
a story if it has a strong element of conflict or contro- 
versy. It mav be possible to categorize other enter- 
taining qualities, but most news people agree that a 
story is "interesting" if it lends itself to graphic presen- 
tation; if It contains a powerful "human interest" 



element with which the reader or viewer can identify in 
his fantasies; and if it has some thread of conflict or 
controversy. 

Something of the sense of the news person's appreci- 
ation of the "interesting" in the news is evident in the 
words of a Toronto reporter as he described the attempt 
to kidnap the daughter of a well-known Toronto family 
in mid- 1976. "The Eaton kidnapping was pretty sensa- 
tional, you know. One of the big families in Toronto. 
It's the kind of story that, you know, you can really jazz 
It up and It's got a lot of thrills and we go for that kind 
of stuff." 

An extreme example? More blunt, and perhaps more 
cynical than most, but not especially extreme. A 
television reporter in Kitchener gave us this insight as 
he described his interview with a woman who had lost 
everything in a flood. "... in the course of the inter- 
view, a little tear trickled out of the woman's eye and 
proceeded down her cheek. Well, he [the reporter's 
accompanying cameraman] was on his toes, and he 
zoomed right in on that tear. Shortly after, a flood relief 
fund was set up, and I don't know how many thousands 
of dollars that little tear contributed." 

Clearly, the reporter's motivation here was decent 
and pro-social, but both instances describe a common 
pattern in the news fraternity's perception of what 
constitutes "interesting" news. 

So much for the notion that news must be 
"interesting"; what of the notion that it ought also to be 
"important"? Unfortunately, as we have suggested, 
important news is not necessarily interesting news. All 
too often, it seems, important, but essentially abstract, 
processes go on in society - processes of public finance 
and public administration for example, processes within 
a changing society and its institutions which lend 
themselves to abstract consideration now. but will have 
no concrete reality until some remote future. Public 
awareness of these things is often critically important, 
yet their very abstractness makes them difficult to write 
about, difficult to present visually on television, and 
(according to newsroom convention) diflicult for the 
reader or viewer to absorb. TTie result is that they tend 
to be neglected in the news. However, we found that the 
problem is recognized, and apparently worrisome to, at 
least a small core among the news people we talked to - 
five of the total sample, to be precise. 

One of the most illuminating comments on the 
problem was ofTered by the head of one of the cbc's 
news operations in Ontario. He used as an example the 
recurring news items about the patriation of the British 
North America Act. 

"That story may be boring to people, and we try to 
make it interesting, but there's only a certain amount 
vou can do to make it interesting. 

"But is is of extreme importance, and we have a 
secondary responsibility as news people to not only 
inform at the lowest mass level, but to inform at a 
somewhat higher level, too." 



The authors of a federal government report in 1969 
that recommended, among other things, the estab- 
lishment of the now-defunct Information Canada, 
recognized this phenomenon when they described, 
somewhat flippantly the reporting of federal affairs by 
the members of the National Press Gallery: 

The Press Gallery at Ottawa would rather report the rivalry of 
cabinet ministers, or the gay times in the Commons question 
period, than the technicalities of some new legislation to aid 
immigrants. The mass media as a whole would rather report 
the daily score of prime ministerial kisses than government 
subsidies for adult education.' 

A final note about the distorting qualities in the news 
person's intuitive perception of the concepts of 
"interest" and "importance": it is ironic that, while the 
important is frequently subordinated to the interesting, 
on the relatively rare occasions when news is boih 
important unrf interesting, it is sometimes overplayed. 
The Entebbe incident may provide a case in point. It 
received enormous coverage, and, as we have said (see 
Appendix B), it was regarded as a highly significant 
news story by Ontario news people. 

As a news story, Entebbe had everything a reporter 
might wish for in terms of "interest", and at the same 
time, it surely was "important" by anyone's absolute 
standard of such things. But did it really deserve the 
extraordinary emphasis it received? Dramatic and 
exciting though it was it was really just one incident of 
bravado in the much more important (but generally 
"uninteresting") continuum of evolving relationships in 
the Middle East. 

Immediacy, the third prime concept in our 
conceptual definition of news, also has potential for 
dislortioi. of reality when it is considered at the intuitive 
level of understanding where the news person ordinarily 
deals with it. 

Temporal immediacy - the imperative that news must 
be a chronicling of events as close to the fleeting present 
as possible distorts the public's media-created portrait 
of social reality in two ways. First, the news person has 
diflficulty dealing with information as news when it is 
generated by a process of evolving activity over an 
extended period of time. Second, and closely related, is 
the view that news must be new, even when it can be 
seen as a clearly detached event in a short time span. 
Regardless of an event's absolute and histonc impor- 
tance, it loses its news value in as short a time as 12 
hours. But. if a new "angle" can be found, a forgotten 
detail gleaned and emphasized, an aging story can be 
made new again for another half a day. 

Consider, for example, the 18 to 24 months of media 
coverage leading up to the Olympic Games in Montreal. 
TTie preparations for the 1976 Games involved the 
organization over an extended period of time of vast 
human, financial, and engineering resources - in other 
words, a process, leading to a future conclusion. Yet a 
review of the bulging file of media coverage will 
recognize that it was not presented as a process at all. 



but rather as a collection of unrelated crises, calamities, 
and occasional triumphs - each occurring within the 
isolated and abbreviated time frame allotted to it by the 
media. 

The importance of temporal immediacy to the 
newsman was underlined in many of our interviews. 
Twenty-one of the thirty subjects made some important 
reference to the phenomenon as a necessary component 
of news. Here are some examples. 

A wire service writer in Toronto said, quite 
succinctly, that a news story "has to have some new 
angle to it," At an Eastern Ontario television station, a 
reporter told us, "The more immediate a story is, the 
higher up it goes in terms of its priority." 

Another reporter, an employee of an Eastern Ontario 
newspaper, placed immediacy at the top of her list of 
newsworthy qualities: "It is easier to cover events if 
they are immediate and happening at the moment." 

Finally, we recall especially a reporter in Windsor 
who. in response to our first question, had momentary 
difficulty recalling any news stories of the recent past, 
let alone the two or three most important ones. "That's 
damned hard." she said. "Even, week there's a bigger 
story and every day. News constantly renews itself, and 
every day there's a new big story. I just go by the lead 
story of the day: I don't think in terms of the biggest 
story of the year." 

Immediacv in the geographic sense is also an 
important qualitv in establishing newsworthiness priori- 
ties. It. too. has a distorting quality, at least to the extent 
that news people feel constrained to give highest 
priority to events close to home. (Aaain. see Appendix 
B.) 

Geocentrism is natural enough, of course, and an 
editor or news director who did not give comprehensive 
co\erage of his home territory would not be doing his 
job. Granting that the local emphasis in news is more to 
be encouraged than discouraged, it still appears that the 
phenomenon sometimes gets in the way of developing 
adequate national and international perspectives in 
audiences. 

For instance, the continuing story of organized 
labour's day of national protest against the national 
anti-inflation program in Canada was the most 
mentioned story in response to our first question; 16 
respondents listed it as one of the three most important 
news events of the period. However, seven of these 16 
people, described its importance on a local rather than a 
national scale. In Peterborough, we were told the day of 
protest was important because the Outboard Marine 
Corporation and Canadian General Electric employ 
many local citizens who, of course, are active unionists. 
In Oshawa and Windsor, we were told that the presence 
in their respective populations of thousands of members 
of the United Auto Workers' Union made the day of 
protest a most important local storv. And in Sudbury 
the dav of protest was considered important because 
nearly everyone in town works for one of the two nickel 



mining corporations there, and is therefore a member of 
the giant Stcelworkers' Union. 

C\)nverting a national story into a local story is 
probably more a matter of mild interest than serious 
concern, and it is quite natural that everyone, news 
people and their readers and viewers alike, should be 
most concerned with the wt)rld that immediately 
surrounds them. But a world thus understood is a world 
misapprehended, and this should be a matter of 
concern. 

There is another matter of greater concern, however. 
When the media bring information into the community 
from the world outside, there is a tendency to select 
items which might have happened at home. Unfortu- 
nately, such items often have violent themes: collec- 
tively, they paint an unfairly violent portrait of the 
outside world. The reporting of a small but steady diet 
of bank robberies, rapes, murders, and so forth from 
other communities, in conjunction with occasional 
reports of local versions of these and other crimes, tends 
to suggest to local audiences that such crimes may be 
more prevalent at home than they are in reality. 



Chapter Two 

Violence: "Nobody Wants to Read 
about Good People" 



News people as a group are not inherently violent - at 
least, they have no greater predilection for the actual or 
vicarious experience of violence than any other group in 
society. Perhaps they have a lot less than some. Public 
stereotypes of the news person may suggest otherwise (a 
concept discussed in Chapter 3) but, by and large, in 
our interviews, we were impressed with the very 
ordinariness of news people. As private individuals, they 
share with everyone else the ordinary joys and concerns 
associated with the common human commitment to the 
building of decent lives in safe and civilized communi- 
ties. 

This notwithstanding, however, the preponderant 
evidence of many studies of news content demonstrates 
that a mild Jekyll-to-Hyde transformation seems to 
occur when the ordinary citizen turns himself or herself 
each day into the working news person."* 

Doubtless there are many reasons for this phenom- 
enon, but one which seems especially significant, and 
which was evident in the interviews, is the fact that 
information about human and natural violence makes 
nearly perfect news. In the light of the intuitive 
perception of the nature of news, it is clear that infor- 
mation-generating situations which contain powerful 
elements of violence almost inevitably fit the news 
person's intuitive rationale, with all its inherent 
subtleties and contradictions, that news must be 
"interesting", "important", and "immediate". 

The news person, therefore, tends to gravitate toward 
violent information, not because it is violent /^e/- 5e, but 
because all his instincts and traditions tell him it is 
intensely newsworthy. 

Clearly, information about a rape, a bank robbery, 
and explosion, a hurricane, or even the stealthy and 
sophisticated computer theft of corporate funds, is 
"interesting". Violent events are almost always concrete 
situations, readily lending themselves to graphic narra- 
tion; they generate clearly indentifiable heroes, villains, 
and victims acting their parts in richly human emotional 
circumstances. 

Violent events are immediate in both the temporal 
and geographic senses. Temporally, they are unexpected 
and sudden, and they run their courses quickly. Even 



the political or financial scandal or controversy tends to 
break swiftly and unexpectedly, at least as such occur- 
rences are presented as news. 

An Amencan scholar. Todd Hunt, has suggested that 
an important distorting element in all journalism is the 
reporter's tendency to see news items as "events" rather 
than as aspects of "processes".' Processes are difficult to 
write about, given journalism's traditions and the 
journalist's intuitive understanding of the nature of 
news. Reporters inevitably attempt to extract "events" 
out of "processes": when this is difficult or impossible to 
do, the information may be underplayed or ignored. 
When an "event" stands naturally isolated from 
"process", however - as is so often the case, superficially 
at least, with violence - news people gravitate to it. One 
example, already discussed in another context, is the 
event-centred approach of the media to the story of 
Canada's recent Olympic Games: another example of a 
process being distorted by event-centred journalism 
must be the tortuous course of the Watergate affair in 
the United States. 

Violent news also tends to be geographically 
immediate. Not, obviously, in the sense that all indus- 
trial explosions, all spectacular air disasters, and all 
illegal misuses of municipal funds occur in one's home 
town but, rather, in the sense that almost all such events 
could happen there. TTiis phenomenon has been 
described as "psychological proximity", a term that 
simply means that some news, usually violent news, has 
a universal quality - it can happen anywhere, but 
people thousands of miles away will be interested 
because it could have happened where they are. An 
earthquake in Peking, a rape in Toronto, or a man 
wrapped in dynamite blowing himself up in a Sudbury 
bank, all of these have psychological proximity for the 
reader or viewer, wherever he or she may be.*" 

Finally, violent news, like stories in all other 
categories of newsworthy information, can be genuinely 
important to know about. When it is, and when its 
importance is coupled with inherent qualities of 
immediacy and interest, there is a further tendency for 
the media to overplay it. 

Our hypothesis that violent information almost 



10 



perfectly fits the news person's intuitive perception of 
what constitutes news, and therefore may be 
overplayed, is powerfully supported by our interview 
data. In response to the fourth question, asking what 
sorts of news situations which would trigger maximum 
utilization of newsroom resources, the scenarios 
described were, without exception, violent and 
dramatic. 

In fairness, it must be pointed out that four interview 
subjects described scenarios in which violence, though 
clearly implicit, was not necessarily direct and physical. 
A Toronto editor, for instance, suggested that the 
unanticipated resignation of a prime minister, pressed 
by powerful political forces, would generate maximum 
resources mobilization in his newsroom. But such 
exceptions were rare; the great majority offered 
scenarios describing overt, physical violence. Some 
typical examples follow: 

"I think generally spot news events of various kinds. 
It could be a race outbreak in Detroit, rioting or 
something like that. Or mentioning one locally, about 
18 months ago a gunman took a couple of children 
hostage in a farmhouse east of the city [London ]." 

"Well, I think a sniping. Yeah. We've had a couple of 
them here (Peterborough) and they had everybody 
scrambling around." 

"... a schoolbus accident. I don't know if you 
remember, but we had a serious schoolbus accident in 
Amherstburg [Windsor j eight or nine years ago, and 
there were eight children killed." 

"Good things just don't seem to happen as traumati- 
cally as bad things. So, specifically, it would have to be 
somebody escaping from jail, a murder, a bad car 
accident, some sort of tragedy." 

"It's got to be the crime or disaster. Or some major 
political development in Canada. But I'm afraid it's the 
crime or disaster that makes us jump." 

"I'd say blood and gore stories. I used to do surveys 
when I used to work for the radio station [the subject 
now works for a wire service). We used to go out on the 
street and talk to people, and it's so true. Those are the 
stories that really grab people - where there's death, a 
lot of death. You know, more than one person killed. 
More than a thousand, preferably. An airplane 
crash. . ." 

And so it goes. In response to our seventh question, 
27 interview subjects said that they believed most 
members of the reading and viewing audiences are 
likely to pav more attention to news items when they 
contain an element of tragedy or violence. The news 
person's perception of his audience is dealt with more 
fully later in this report, but it is important here to 
realize that, when the reporter is writing the violent 
story, he believes it is a story his audience will read or 
view with careful attention. A London reporter gave us 
this insight: "When you write a story about a dull 
committee meeting, even though you might give it a 
gimmicky lead and make it as readable as possible and 



kind of bright and funny, I'm sure you don't get the 
readers that you do on a violent or sensational or racy 
story." 

An Oshawa reporter told us that people "most 
definitely" prefer violent news. "Violence gets people. 
It's not a nice thing to say, but it's true. A murder - that 
will strike all kinds of people. They get interested. 
Somebody gets attacked or a woman gets raped, these 
things stir people up. You know, you look through 
history that the most fascinating people are the Hitlers, 
the Napoleons, the Al Capones, - these fellows. Nobody 
wants to read about good people." 

Perhaps nobody does want to read about good 
people; news people certainly seem to believe this is the 
case. Our sixth question asked the respondents to 
discuss the general criticism that violence may be 
unduly emphasized in the news media. A solid majority, 
18 of the total, objected, expressing the view in one way 
or another that most outside criticism of media violence 
content was unwarranted or unfair. (Ten felt the 
criticism was fair, and two were uncertain). 

The two main defensive themes in the responses were 
that news people are giving the public what it wants and 
that they are simply describing the world as it really is - 
and critics are seeking to avoid reality. These themes, 
singly or in combination, were presented by 19 of the 
subjects at some point in their responses. Some of the 
comments were: 

". . .we're only a mirror of society. We don't make the 
crime happen. We just report it." 

"I think in many instances reporters and editors and 
television people do go after the sensational, but it's 
because they know that's what brings the readers and 
viewers." 

"Well, it's not all peaches and cream out there. You 
might as well tell it like it is. It's out there, and they 
might as well be aware of it." 

"... people have always criticized the bearer of bad 
news. It would be pretty irresponsible for the news 
media not to report crime and disasters and violence 
because it's part of life, part of our whole experience." 

"Well, damn it. this criticism is probably being made 
by readers, and they just can't have their cake and eat it. 
The world's just on the edge of its chair watching, and 
it's our job to present this grisly nonsense to them. Tlien 
they criticize." 

"If you don't know, or if it's not impressed on your 
mind that there is such a thing as crime, that there is 
such a thing as violence, and that the bizarre does 
happen, then what kind of shape are you going to be in 
when it ultimately happens to you?" 

While the sixth question sought general comments 
about violent news coverage, questions eight and nine 
asked about specific possible social consequences of 
violence reporting. In question eight we asked our 
subjects to consider the possibility that media coverage 
of specific violent incidents might generate tragic imita- 
tions - that the report of a subway suicide, for instance 



11 



(now very rarely reported, incidentally), might create a 
rash of such tragedies. The ninth question raised the 
possibility that some individuals and groups may 
become unreasonably fearful of the potential for 
violence around them as a result of the magnifying 
effect that media emphasis or focus upon specific types 
of violence can produce. For instance, if the local media 
report two or three instances of old people in the 
community being attacked and robbed, and wire 
accounts of similar instances from other communities 
are added as they occur, ihe possibility of such an 
incident occuring in their own lives may be intensified 
to an imagined prohabiliiy in the minds of many elderly 
citizens - to the point, perhaps, where they assume, 
quite incorrectly, that muggers lurk in every alley and 
doorway. 

In response to question eight, 23 subjects recognized 
the possibility of imitative behaviour, but only a 
minority, eight, felt the press had any clear moral 
obligation in the matter. Among those who recognized a 
problem, but felt no special obligation, two themes 
tended to repeat themselves. The first was that the cure 
- the non-reporting or downplaying of violent news - 
would be a restriction on press freedom, and therefore 
worse than the disease. Second, the downplaying or 
elimination of such news items, while possibly desirable 
in one sense, would have negative effects; it might 
encourage wild rumours and generate public accusa- 
tions of news suppression by the press. A representative 
sample of the comments follows: 

"I just cannot see how you can have a free press 
operating and have newspapers start playing a social 
role saying, "We must play this down because of the 
possible result". Now if you don't want a free press, if 
you want some kind of government control, that's an 
entirely different thing. But I think it's a price that has 
to be paid." 

". . .1 agree that [a report of bizarre violence] does 
spark more things of the same nature. But the cure, 
which is censorship, is worse than the disease." 

"If we [a Toronto daily] had downplayed this story [a 
shooting incident involving death in a Brampton, 
Ontario, high school] I think the community, especially 
the Brampton community, would have wondered why, 
would have wondered what was being held back or 
suppressed. The paper's credibility would have suffered 
if it had treated the story as less than the shocking event 
it really was." 

"Such stories are going to spread anyway. . .in many 
ways there is less chance of folk legends being built up 
[making heroes out of villains] by getting the facts out in 
the first place." 

"We can't possibly try to second guess what any kook 
is going to do. We're not qualified to make that kind of 
judgment. And if we gt)t into that, we would be 
censoring ever)'body"s story that we ever put out." 

Finally, these comments from individuals who did 



not see the imitative behaviour problem as a question 
that need concern the media: 

"I don't think if one story appears three days in a 
newspaper, and gets maybe a little extra coverage in 
television and radio, that it's going to be the sole factor 
that's going to cause a second skyjacking or a second 
school shootup. I think there are a lot of people who 
think that the press and the media have a lot more 
power than they really do." 

"I don't think we have to apologize for covering a big 
news story. If it encourages somebody else to do the 
same, I don't view that as my problem. That's his 
problem." 

Question nine dealt with the possibility that excessive 
media attention to violent events might create the false 
impression that violence is far more prevalent than it 
really is. We were struck with the fact that nine of the 
interview subjects simply had not recognized or 
considered the possible existence of such a phenom- 
enon. The great majority, 24, even if they recognized the 
theoretical possibility of the phenomenon, did not 
admit to its practical reality. Their answers indicated 
that they believed the media to be providing the public 
with an accurate portrayal of the violence in its midst. 
Here are some of the responses we received: 

"I don't think there can be too many young ladies 
worried about being raped. I don't think there can be 
too many little old ladies worried about being mugged, 
because these are real dangers in our society today." 

"It's going to happen whether it's reported or not. 
Perhaps it's a good thing that if somebody's going to 
stalk the underground garage you should be prepared," 

"In my experience, it's simply not true. In Toronto, 
where I live, I don't see any evidence that people are 
afraid to walk the streets at night, because they're doing 
it. There's no area of Toronto that I'm aware of that 
people feel unsafe at mght .... So I'm really doubtful 
that the theory has any basis. 

". . .I'm not a sociologist, and I haven't done any 
surveys, but I don't buy the thing that people are holed 
up in apartments trembling, afraid to come out on the 
streets because of crime and undenvorld stories they 
read in the newspapers. I just don't think that it's true." 

"The sociologists should read the stories about 
children playing on the streets of Belfast, totally 
ignoring the blood stains on the sidewalks and so on. 
They have simply grown accustomed to it." 



12 



Chapter Three 

Perceptions: The News Person's World 



A number of our questions were designed to elicit the 
perceptions of news people about themselves as human 
beings and as journalists, what they believe the world 
thinks of them, and how they view the work relations 
and the economics of the news business. 

The answers were complex. Though our interviews 
yielded an abundance of insights, there were few 
dominant themes which could conveniently be isolated 
and described as foundation blocks. The selection and 
description of the most salient insights, which might 
collectively describe thejournalistic mind, proved 
difficult. A general overview did emerge, however and. 
though such generalities are of limited analytical useful- 
ness, this overview does provide an orientation for the 
discussion that follows. 

Our overview is of a rather melancholy landscape. 
Among other things, it reflects a peculiarly innocent 
cynicism struggling with an almost Quixotic idealism 
for possession of the journalistic mind: a detachment 
from society - an acute awareness of the journalist's 
non-participant status as social observer that verges on 
shyness; a rather bitter sense of being unappreciated 
and misunderstood by the general public; and a sense 
(that has vague psychological overtones of martyrdom) 
that, despite all the hardships, the work of the news 
person is very important to society and must be done. 

Moving to the specifics, we separated the information 
gleaned into three areas. The first involves perceptions 
of the news person about himself and his work; the 
second deals with his understanding of the public, and 
his perception of the public's understanding of him; and 
the third treats some economic questions and aspects of 
newsroom work relations as these touch upon the news 
person's self-perceptions. 

A. As They Set Themselves 

In question 24. the interview subjects were asked to 
rank their jobs against other occupational roles in terms 
of their importance to society. We hoped that the types 
of comparative occupations mentioned might reveal 
something of the collective self-image of the news 
person, and this did prove lo be the case. ' While 
collective impressions by no means apply to all individ- 



uals, in this case there emerges a very clear self-image of 
the news person as an important, altruistically 
motivated social servant. 

Most subjects categorized their work at professional 
levels in human service occupational areas. Five 
individuals chose not to answer the question (an inter- 
esting point which we will consider in due course), 
leaving 25 individuals producing 50 occupational 
relationships. Of these, 30 identifications were made 
with occupations in an arbitrarily established social 
service grouping consisting of teaching, the law, social 
work, medicine, politics, and professional ser\ ice 
aspects of pubhc service. The occupation most 
mentioned was teaching, with 15 subjects seeing a 
parallel between journalism and the work of the class- 
room. Seven drew parallels between journalism and 
various business management functions. While these 
identifications with management are not especially 
significant statistically other than as a measure of the 
news person's relatively high sense of his occupation's 
ranked importance, it is interesting that only one 
subject equated his work with that of the public 
relations executive, and none drew parallels with any 
aspect of advertising. The balance of the responses were 
statistically unimportant; they ranged across a wide 
selection of individual possibilities, including two 
mentions of blue-collar occupations and one of profes- 
sional sport. 

Clearly, the relationship between newsgathering and 
social-service occupations is important to an under- 
standing of the news person's self-image, but statistics 
tend to be rather barren, and a belter sense of their 
meaning in human terms is to be found in the words of 
the respondents. 

"Teaching, I guess that's one." a reporter told us. "I 
think the press olTers an equivalent or comparable 
service to sixrietv as does the teaching profession." 
Another reporter offered, "Well, I'd say teaching, and 
social work for another. Generally, those are the areas I 
identify with." 

"Perhaps this sounds a bit pompous, but 1 think news 
people are valuable. A good reporter is like a good 
teacher, in a wav. You are imparting knowledge, and 



13 



hopefully people will learn from you," answered a 
young female television reporter in Windsor. A writer 
for a Northern Ontario newspaper said: "Some type of 
counselling work, perhaps being able to deal with 
children. Social work, I guess." 

This theme was a very common one. The five subjects 
who refused to answer the question gave similar and 
rather idealistic reasons having to do with their disap- 
proval of any view of society that allows or suggests 
rank ordering of occupations. A typical response, from 
a copy editor in London was: "Who's more important, 
a brain surgeon or a garbage collector? Well, if the 
garbage collector goes on strike and the garbage piles 
up around the hospital, then the garbage collector 
suddenly attains a great deal of importance ... I don't 
think there are parallels. It's like asking who's more 
important on a football team - you can take one person 
away, and the rest of them are going to get their lumps 
and feel it." And an Oshawa reporter said, "I don't buy 
this importance nonsense at all. I think as long as a 
person's doing something that's legitimate, they work 
hard at it, they give it their best - I think that's all you 
can say about it." 

The fifth question, asked whether the business of 
newsgathering tended to set news people apart from the 
mainstream of the population, whether it made them 
different from other people. Most subjects did perceive 
important differences, often rather unpleasant ones, and 
certainly quite extraordinary when placed inju.xta- 
postion to the journalist-as-social-servant theme just 
described. In summary, they said these things about 
themselves: The news business makes its people cynical 
and callous: it tends to desensitize them to the human 
origins of the stuff they call news (these concepts come 
variously from 15 subjects): and it tends to make them 
cliquish among themselves but to some extent aloof 
from the general community (according to 14 respon- 
ses). On a more positive side, eight people gave some 
version of the notion that reporters are more realistic 
than most people; that they are keen observers and far 
better informed than the bulk of the population; and 
that they serve as society's watchdogs when the rest of 
us are asleep or blinded to dangerous realities. 

Dealing with these perceptions in the order of presen- 
tation, we were struck - but not especially surprised - 
by the number of respondents who felt that handling 
news makes them more callous, more cynical about 
human behaviour and motivation, than most people. 
The idea that news people should be cynical and callous 
is an ancient part of newsroom lore, but we perceived a 
quality to the comments that went considerably deeper 
than an automatic expression of loyalty to a tradition. 
For instance, many of the subjects were quite specific 
about the causes of this occupational syndrome. For 
some, the callousness developed as a psychological 
shield against the shock of too frequently witnessing the 
reality of gross physical violence, or its aftermath. For 
others, a certain dry cynicism was bred of too many 



years searching for - and finding - chicanery and self- 
seeking behaviour in too many ambitious people, both 
in and out of public life. Still others - and this was the 
saddest in a tragic litany - felt that a generalized 
contempt, seemingly for all mankind, is generated from 
observing patterns of human behaviour ranging from 
fearful obsequiousness to lying bombast; most journal- 
ists, after a very short time on the job discern these 
characteristics in many of the people they must 
interview and write about. 

Comments extracted from the interview responses to 
our fifth question are instructive. We begin with the 
entire response of a Western Ontario television 
reporter; "I think it ([the news business] makes him 
more cynical. We're conned and lied to by so many 
people. They're covering something up. they don't want 
you to dig too deeply, or. worse still, they tell you 
something off-quote, and then you have to betray a trust 
in order to use it. Basically. I think the politicians are 
the big ones. They lie to you. switch their stories, or they 
may take half an hour replying to a question, and 
playing the tape back you find they've said nothing." 

A woman reporter in Peterborough observed, "We 
tend to be slightly cynical. You come across so much 
that's going on every day. and so many people are 
hurting each other and doing so many bad things that 
youjust accept it. You shrug and carry on." 

These comments are typical, but there was something 
especially noteworthy - even poignant - in the remarks 
of a wire service editor describing the psychological 
problems involved in writing about gross violence. He 
saw callousness as a necessary defence mechanism, and 
cited as an example a newsroom conversation while his 
people were processing copy about a major air disaster 
in France. The crash took place in a wooded picnic 
area, he said, "and we were joking . . . wondering what 
kind of wine, red or white, the French would want to 
drink at this sort of thing. 

"It's fairly morbid, morbid humour. But I suppose it's 
the only way. If we were to stop in the middle of our 
shift and think about the immensity of 300 people just 
being consumed in a ball of fire, and really think about 
that, it's very ea.sy to go to pieces over something like 
that. And we couldn't go to pieces. We had to get this 
story out." Elsewhere in his response to the same 
question, he said, equally perceptively, that life in its 
entirety can eventually become ajoke to people who 
survive long careers in news work, "It all becomes a 
joke . . . the really better journalists at the end [of their 
careers] are tremendously brilliant satirists." 

The second theme, that news people tend to become 
desensitized to the human origins of much of the news 
they write, could also be described as a defence mecha- 
nism. But it is a subtle concept, and we were rather 
surprised that a significant number of our interview 
subjects mentioned it quite specifically as a facet of 
some importance in the journalistic self-concept. 

Basically, desensitizing is the process of becoming 



14 



inured through famiharity: the first car accident. 
involving death, that a person witnesses shocks him to 
the bone; the second, not quite so deeply; the third, less 
still; and - eventually - the sight of such horror, the 
theory goes, leaves one emotionally untouched. People 
seeing violent death in car accidents, it might be argued, 
have something m common with astronauts on a third 
or fourth trip to the moon - both groups are involved in 
matters of unremarkable routine. Much has been 
written about the concept of the desensitized audience 
of news and other forms of mass mediated information, 
but there have been few studies dealing with the desen- 
sitization of the writers and processors of news. For this 
reason, it seems worthwhile to offer a selection of the 
comments we received. 

A woman in Windsor, who had been assigned the 
police news beat, said that she found herself, in time, 
falling into the habit of using police jargon as a part of a 
process of desensitization. "I found myself referring to 
fatals (violent accidental deaths) in an mva (motor 
vehicle accident). And that meant that somebody had 
died in a car. I thought about it. and thought this is 
ridiculous. That's a human being who died out there, 
and yet I'd become so detached it was just another fatal 
and an mva." 

A Toronto editor described his repeated experience 
of coming home with what are, to him, matter-of-fact 
items of news and gossip about their processing, and 
suddenly realizing he is shocking his family in the 
retelling of them. "It's very hard to take anything 
seriously. I shock people by coming home . . . and I start 
telling this. that, and the other thing, and they say 'My 
God. that's horrible.' And I guess it is horrible. You 
certainly notice that." 

Not everyone used the word desensitization. of 
course, but the concept was implicit in a number of 
comments. For example, an Eastern Ontario reporter 
explained. "You don't react (to violent events) as 
emotionally as many of your friends would under the 
same circumstances. It's a matter of getting the facts, 
and then maybe afterwards you react." 

The most impressive comment on the problem came 
from a senior Toronto editor who is involved in the 
work of newspaper criticism. "I'm afraid the hard-nosed 
newsman becomes desensitized. The news is a 
commodity, and you learn to treat it very profession- 
ally. I mean, without any personal involvement. You 
lose a .sensitiveness to what really matters in the 
community." 

Though it has. perhaps, only a superficial bearing in 
this context, it was interesting that this individual also 
felt the desensitization process produces long-term 
negative reactions in readers. "As I say. we treat news 
as a commodity. A story comes in about a politician 
who is embarrassed, and that's automatically a good 
story because the son-of-a-bitch is embarrassed. And we 
lose sight of the human meaning, and treat it profes- 
sionally and skilfully as something that's going to 



intrigue readers. In a sense, it does. But is also leaves 
them unsatisfied, I think with what we are doing. We're 
not really touching them in their own lives, in their own 
concerns." 

The third theme - really a cluster of closely related 
self-concepts about the newsgatherer's personality - 
describes news people as cliquish among themselves, 
often obeying a powerful herding instinct, and yet quite 
set apart from the mainstream of society. In the social 
context, a number of our interview subjects described 
themselves quite frankly as loners and non-participating 
observers. One person suggested news people are 
basically quite shy, while 14 others, suggested or implied 
that news people are socially detached. 

The idea that news people tend to be exceptionally 
cliquish was best expressed by a reporter in London 
who described news men and women as people who 
"breathe on each other an awful lot. particularly when 
they are in close proximity . . . covering a candidate . . . 
and that's a bad situation. 

"The newsman who doesn't consort with his cohorts 
is branded an outsider. There's a certain fraternity 
amongst newsmen that goes beyond fraternity. You 
might call it incest, if you want to. and they pick up 
each other's ideas . . . ." 

Another reporter, a woman in Toronto, described her 
social life as being mainly with other journalists. "I 
suppose I'm not very good at chit-chat." she said. "I like 
to get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about issues, and 
I don't really find many people who care to do that on 
the outside." She described people outside the news 
business as "the civilians". 

Another reporter, a man in Sudbury, described the 
cliquishness of the news fraternity, and then talked 
about the obverse side of the coin, the detachment of 
many journalists in the broader social context. 

"I don't want to sound snobbish, but you do become 
cliquish," he said. "I don't think there is any place that 
can be as exhilerating or as bonng as the press club." 
Then he went on to describe the other aspect this way: 
"They [the journalists | are on the sidelines, so close to 
the action, people rushing past on either side, and they 
get a real vicarious rush out of it. I've got a little theory 
that basically shy people become reporters. It's their 
way of getting in on the action." 

Others alluded to. or described quite directly, the 
news person as the detached, non-participating obser\er 
of .society, often a social loner. A reporter in Peter- 
borough offered this .sad little aphorism: "I think it's 
true, an observation made by a teacher I once had. that 
the newsman's only true friend, the only real friend he 
can have, is his wife and even she watches what she 
says." 

A number of the respondents saw the detachment 
phenomenon, as a necessary virtue in news people. An 
editor in Windsor explained it this way: "You can't 
really have a lot of close friends in the community, 
because one of these days you're maybe going to have 



15 



to step right on a close friend's toes. You tend to be. 
perhaps in that aspect, a little inbred in that your close 
friends and the people you talk to every day are other 
news persons. I don't know whether it's good or bad. 
but. obviously, in these days when you are supposed to 
keep yourself aloof and free from any connections in 
the community that could distort your news judgment, 
you don't have a lot of friends in the community." 

Clearly, this man sees something of a virtue in the 
fact of journalistic detachment, despite the obvious 
pitfalls - that it leads to desensitization and cliquish 
"incest" and all the rest. .'\nd he is right in that a very 
positive argument can be made that detachment is 
necessary, to some degree at least, if the news person 
hopes to approach his work fairly and objectively. 
There would bejustifiable cause for concern, for 
instance, if the daily allotment of political news was 
being reported by a dedicated and involved member of 
this or that political party. Be that as it may. the 
important point is that most of the respondents tended 
to see. if not virtue, at least necessity in most of these 
facets of the journalistic self-image. 

When viewed in a certain context, desensitization, for 
instance, may mean the retention of sanitv; cliquishness 
and detachment may in fact be the unfortunate but 
necessarv handmaidens of integritv. However, there 
must be alternatives with fewer negative aspects, and 
some possibilities are discussed in the concluding 
chapter. 

The most outstanding positive facet of journalistic 
self-perception is that the news person believes himself 
to be extremely well informed about his community and 
his world - vastly more so, in fact, than most of his 
fellow citizens. Closely associated with this idea, our 
interview data shows that news people also see 
themselves as having a special ability - shared with no 
one outside the craft - to observe society keenly, dispas- 
sionately, pragmatically, and completely. Whether or 
not this self-image is valid the respondents strongly and 
universally believe it is - so much so. in fact, that these 
facets are the core of their belief that they are members 
of a unique fraternity. 

There was no individual in the interview group who 
did not make some allusion to. or specific statement 
about, these aspects of the self-image. A selection of 
their comments follows. 

An Oshawa reporter commented, "A reporter tends 
to become a real observer of the world at a very 
concrete level. Now. that's different from someone else 
who could be a participant at a concrete level. The 
reporter, in my opinion, seems to be able to get more of 
a grasp of things that are going on in the real live world 
of the average citizen." 

A Toronto reporter explained that a reporter is 
frequently privy to more or less confidential informa- 
tion, much of which may never see the light of print or 
broadcast. "TTiis gives you, I think, a unique kind of 
background to everything that happens in the world 



around you, and probably sets you apart from people 
who have nothing to do with the news business." 

In Sudbury, a reporter who covered city council 
explained matter-of-factly. "• • • it's the local political 
scene in which I am far more knowledgeable than Joe 
Q. Public." A young woman reporter in Toronto said, 
"A newsperson wants to be sort of in on things as they 
are happening, and you have a better chance . . . it's still 
exciting to be in on the beginning stages of a story, 
when you find out something has happened before 
almost anyone else has." 

A perceptive comment came from a senior newspaper 
editor in Western Ontario: "You [the reporter or editor] 
know some things that a lot of other people don't know; 
you are aware of things developing in your community 
that have perhaps not been made public yet. You know 
of personalities who react in certain ways; you know 
that, predictably, certain people will say certain things 
and mean other things. Yeah ... 1 think you're a person 
apart, especially in these latter days when editors are 
supposed to keep to themselves, isolated from the 
community really." 

While these aspects of the news person's self-image 
are clearly positive, there are problems which the news 
people themselves perceive. 

A senior television newsman told us: "1 suppose in 
terms of seeing the world unfold, we are a little apart. 1 
think it is important not to set yourself too far apart, 
though. You risk becoming arrogant and very all- 
knowing." Finally, a television reporter commented, 
"You have to pretty much keep in tune with what is 
going on around you; know enough not to appear like a 
complete fool when you're dealing with a subject that 
you don't know anything about." 

B. Relating to the Public 

Most news people beheve that the public grossly misun- 
derstands them, misconstruing by warped stereotyping 
the very nature of the news person's personality and the 
motivations he brings to his work; and misunder- 
standing to a point of total ignorance the nature of 
newsgathering and news production processes. Fully 25 
of the people we interviewed offered strong statements 
which might be summarized by this sort of collective 
generality. This phenomenon is certainly one of the 
most interesting to emerge from the entire study. The 
problem is discussed at some length in the concluding 
chapter; what follows here is more descriptive than 
analytical. Of all the human stories news people 
research and write, the most neglected is the one about 
themselves. What is even more troublesome is that the 
problem seems not to be recognized: the attitude of 
most news people is that, if the public has stereotyped 
views of news people, it is the public's fault and 
something news people must suffer with stoic silence. 
Rarely in the interview data is there any suggestion that 
aspects of the stereotype might come uncomfortably 



close to reality, and thereby constitute an appropriate 
cause for concern among news people. 
The answers to question 25 provided most of the 
insights we gleaned in this matter of the news person's 
perceived relationship with the public. They asked for 
each subject's view of the public perception of a news 
person's work and role in society, and for the subject's 
perception of the fairness and accuracy of this view. 

The dominant theme in the responses was that the 
public simply does not understand. Though the word 
"martyrdom" is never used, somethmg of the concept is 
certainly implicit in many of the answers. The news 
person seems to feel that he must do what he sees as his 
important and socially useful work despite what he sees 
as a public misunderstanding that frequently imputes 
tarnished and. not infrequently, downright anti-social 
motivations to him. 

"They [the public] see us as sort of second-class 
private eyes, digging into other people's business and 
not very nice people. I don't really think the public has 
any idea at all of what we do," commented a woman 
television reporter in Peterborough. 

"1 often feel that the public looks upon us as a bunch 
of clowns floundering around looking under doormats 
and through keyholes. I don't think the public realizes 
the really serious attempts we've been making in recent 
years to upgrade the type of people who come mto the 
newspaper business," said an editor in Windsor. 

Another reporter in Peterborough told us, "I don't 
think the public has a single clue what we do. I get 
asked things dailv which no reporter would do. and 
which the people asking should know better. I'm asked 
. . . you know . . . there are a great many people around 
who still think we can be bribed." 

In London, a newspaper copy editor said of the 
public. "They consider that the newsman's function in 
society is to snoop, to report on private conversations 
.... In general, I don't think the public has got any 
more than a scintilla of an idea of what the whole 
business is about, other than the fact that they get the 
newspaper on the doorstep m the morning." 

And a reporter in Toronto said, "Some people seem 
to think that reporters are sort of nasty people who are 
always looking for ways to embarrass people, to get 
them into trouble. Some people are afraid of them 
[reporters]. Others just hate and resent them, think they 
are intruders, think they twist things out of proportion 
and out of context. 1 think that by and large this is 
unfair and untrue. I think reporters try their best to be 
fair in whatever they say or write." 

In the view of an Oshawa newspaperman. 
"Everybody thinks a reporter is out to get them. 
Whenever you call, peoplejust shudder when you 
identify yourself as being from the press. They don't 
realize that we're peoplejust like them: that we're trying 
to do a job, and if they give us fair and honest answers. 
most reporters will do the job properly like any other 
professional." 



Finally, as something of a minointy report, we 
received this comment - the only one that was 
genuinely critical of press performance - from a 
Toronto reporter: "1 think there's still a very consid- 
erable number of people who take everything seriously 
that they read in the paper or hear on radio or watch on 
television .... You know, I don't think that's a very 
useful thing to do ... . They [the public] don't under- 
stand the business, and it's probablyjust as well, 
because if they did understand us, they wouldn't believe 
anything they read." 

Another theme, closely related to the general notion 
of public misunderstanding, is the concept expressed by 
15 of the interview subjects, that members of the public 
are fearful of news people and news organizations. 

In the opinion of a senior Toronto newspaper editor, 
"Oh yes, they're afraid of newspapers. Afraid of the 
publicity. Like backing into a buzz saw. you know. 
People are shocked when they see themselves in print, 
and especially when they .see themselves in print in 
some difficult or embarrassing situation which 
frequently happens." 

A reporter in Sudbury said, "In certain levels, the 
reporter is tolerated only because he is feared. I'm 
thinking particularly of political levels. I think the 
politicians in general there are exceptions - but in 
general I think politicians at all levels would just love it 
if the reporters would just go away. But because they 
are fearful of not answering questions and so on, they 
tolerate and sometimes woo the reporter, although 
instinctively thev think of him as an adversary." 

A Windsor reporter remarked. ".\ lot of people think 
that as soon as they appear on television or are quoted 
in a newspaper, there's a giant neon sign going to go up 
over their house saying: "Joe Blotz who lives on such- 
and-such a street was quoted in the newspaper tonight!" 
They're afraid of the publicity. They think the whole 
world now knows they exist." 

Despite the fear, and the essentially negative misun- 
derstanding, which news people perceive as being 
central to the public view of ihcm, most of the respon- 
dents were also convinced that the public sees 
newsgathenng as exciting, romantic, and glamorous. 
This notion was oflered by 21 of the subjects, though 
most also saw great irony in it. Their perception of the 
reality of news work is days, weeks, and months of 
boring routine for every rare moment of genuine 
excitement not unlike the apocryphal airline pilot who 
described his work as months of incredible boredom 
punctuated bv seconds of absolute terror. 

An assessment of the routine of news gathering and 
processing was offered b\ the news director of a major 
Western Ontario television station: "I think most of the 
public think that we are somehow in the glamour 
business because we meet important people and gel to 
appear on television. Somehow the view grows up that 
this is a glamour job. well-paying, easy hours. Well, it 
isn't vou know. For e\ erv important person that it is a 



17 



real pleasure to meet, there are a lot of people that it 
isn't a pleasure to meet. And for every spectacular story 
that really turns the journalist on. there are two or three 
which are done because you've got to do them and 
they're not very spectacular and some of them aren't 
even very bloody interesting." 

In Sudbury, a television reporter said, "I think they 
[the public] see our profession as very glamorous, a lot 
of, you know, the movies type of thing. I don't think 
they know anything at all about the drudgery of sitting 
six hours in a meeting to come out with a two-minute 
summary." 

A Toronto reporter told u.s that the public's under- 
standing of the news person's work is "far, far over-gla- 
morized and distorted. You know, basically, a reporter 
goes through a lot of drudgery, sitting through endless 
meetings, sifting for information through scores of 
phone calls and interviews. By far the majority of the 
job involves just plain hard slugging . . . ." 

C. Economics and Work Relations 

A handful of our questions sought information which 
might be considered economic, even though this study 
is not concerned with the fundamental economics of the 
newspaper or television industries. The purpose of these 
questions was to discover the attitudes of news people 
to their workplace environment. We felt these might 
contribute to the general understanding news people 
have of themselves. Though little statistically important 
material emerged, the commentary was frequently inter- 
esting. 

In response to question 23, on salaries, 12 people 
interviewed pronounced themselves satisfied with their 
rates of pay, while 18 claimed dissatisfaction. The 
approximate ratio would probably hold true in any 
number of other occupational groupings. However, 
eight of the respondents - including some of those 
satisfied and some of those dissatisfied with their wage 
packets - felt industry salary levels were inappropriately 
low relative to salaries paid in occupations outside 
journalism, but traditionally filled by experienced news 
people. Such occupations include work in corporate and 
institutional public relations, in government as minis- 
terial assistants and the like, and in college and 
university teaching. Salary prospects (if not beginning 
rates of pay) can easily range beyond $25,000 per year 
in any of these occupational areas. Journalism salaries 
in Ontario begin at a relatively high $8,000 to $10,000 
per year for junior reporters, on all but the smallest 
newspapers where they are much lower; they peak out 
at the relatively low level of about $16,000 per year for 
reporters with five years experience or more employed 
by the highest-paying newspapers in the province, those 
in Metropolitan Toronto. Some editors of newspapers 
do better, but salaries at $25,000 are extremely rare. 
Salary ranges are generally lower in television, 
especially in operations outside the Toronto, London, 
and Windsor markets - despite the much-publicized 



cases of occasional news announcers who are paid at 
extraordinarily high levels for their value as audience- 
attracting personalities. 

Journalism salaries, while hardly generous, are not 
outrageously low; the problem lies in the fact that they 
are not competitive with those of occupations which 
traditionally recruit from the ranks of the news frater- 
nity. The situation discourages many seasoned news 
people, some of whom feel personally, if vaguely, 
cheated by their employers; and many more who feel 
that both the news business and the public are being 
cheated as too many of the best and most promising 
young recruits move on to more lucrative fields after a 
few short years in the newsroom. 

One reporter in Sudbury expressed the problem this 
way; "More than half the good newsmen I knew when I 
started in the business [five years earlier] are no longer 
in the media. Do you know what they are doing? They 
are working for politicians and as PR men for multina- 
tional companies. The bucksjust aren't in the media." 
A senior television news director told us that his salary 
- exceptional though it is at about $20,000 - would 
jump overnight to $30,000 if he went to work in any one 
of several areas of government employment for which 
he is qualified. "It's the executive assistant syndrome, 
and they are stealing a lot of our good people away." 

Many news people seem to feel, that their employers 
treat them, if not shabbily, at least with no more than 
minimally necessary concern. Question 29 asked about 
the support resources provided by employers to facil- 
itate the newsgathering process. As with the question on 
salaries, the collective responses are not statistically 
significant - 14 said these were adequate and 16 said 
they were not. But the comments impressed us with the 
sense that news people generally - (and there are 
important exceptions) - are so shabbily treated by their 
employers that many subjects seemed really not 
competent to answer the question. 

For instance, one reporter, who felt that resources 
were more or less adequate, told us that there was only 
one company car available for reporters to use, but that 
the managing editor generally kept it for himself. We 
watched three overworked people, jammed into two 
small rooms in the attic of an ancient converted house, 
preparing both radio and television news for a Northern 
Ontario radio-television operation. In another television 
operation, the reporter we interviewed assured us with 
enthusiasm that facilities were more than adequate, a 
point she emphasized saying her station had just 
acquired a portable video camera to record events 
outside the studio - the first such unit her newsroom 
had ever had. In another newsroom, superficially quite 
elegant, two-thirds of the modest space available was 
occupied by advertising personnel. One respondent 
complained mildly that his paper's newsroom and 
modest clipping library are locked after 5 p.m. and on 
weekends - an economy measure which makes research 
and after-hours news coverage virtually impossible. 



18 



Nine people lold us in difTerenl ways, but with 
obvious pride, that news people need few facilities, that 
an elderly manual typewriter and a desk were all any 
good reporter really needed. One reporter did suggest, 
however, that it would be helpful if he could get a bit of 
paper for his typewriter without having to ask the 
managing editor to unlock the supply cabinet, and 
another felt his chair might be more comfortable with a 
caster on its fourth leg to match those on the other 
three. 

Statistically insignificant though it may be, a 
sentiment expressed by three individuals seems worth 
noting. As one of them put it, "Reporters have no status 
in their own organizations, no one trusts me with 
anything. If only there was some appreciation . . . ." 
Fairness demands that we point out that three 
newsrooms which we visited in Ontario, those of The 
Toronto Star. The Windsor Star and especially the 
London Free Press, were modern and obviously well 
equipped. Two of the comments on the reporter's status, 
however, came from these newsrooms. 

Wistful might be the best word to describe the feeling 
of most news people that their newsrooms, with few 
exceptions, rarely receive priority consideration of any 
kind in the allocation of available corporate funds. A 
majority seemed quite accepting of this fact. In response 
to question 26 which asked whether news people saw 
their organizations as businesses or public service 
organizations, 17 subjects described their papers or 
television stations as businesses, seven said they were 
both, and only five described them as public service 
organizations.' 

More surprising were the responses to the question 26 
which asked whether advertisers had any subtle or 
obvious influence on the operation of the newsroom. 
Only four people said it would be possible for an adver- 
tiser to directly and overtly influence news content, but 
17 felt that subtle influences of various kinds were 
present. Only 13 said advertisers could not directly 
influence news content in any way. 

One subject in this latter group who works for a 
Toronto newspaper explained, "Advertising influence is 
just not effective. There are advertisers who still try to 
apply it. but they don't succeed. They need the 
newspaper really more than the newspaper needs 
them." In the newsroom of a small-town television 
station, however, we were told that advertisers easily 
acquire free and favourable publicity. "They'll whisper 
in our [advertising ] salesman's ear, or the station 
manager, or whoever, and a little note will float its way 
down . . .just to make you aware that this film possi- 
bility is there. And around here, everybody jumps when 
such a note comes down." 

A reporter for a small newspaper in Eastern Ontario 
said advertisers have a definite influence. "Here they 
take the word of the advertiser as God. The advertising 
is important. It pays the bills." And another reporter 



told us succinctly, if rather unimaginatively: "You just 
don't bite the hand that feeds you." 

One editor suggested that some forms of advertiser 
influence are morally appropriate. He said: "Let me put 
this reservation in. If you've got an advertiser who's 
paid $5,000 for half a page in your paper, and let's say 
he's [a major airline j and he's advertising a new charter 
service to the Bahamas. Now. I don't think you'd be fair 
to that advertiser if you put on the top half of that page 
stories about three major air crashes that day." Fair 
enough, but perhaps a question of degree is also 
involved. 

Finally, we were interested to learn - outside the 
context of the interviews, but confirmed by two sources 
- that senior executives, including senior editors, in an 
important chain of newspapers receive bonus payments 
each year based upon their newspapers' profitability. 
Profits come from advertising revenues. One partici- 
pating editor told us that this sum. mainly in the form of 
pension benefits and the like, can increase his gross 
salary by as much as 30 per cent. 



19 



Chapter Four 

Ethics, Responsibility and Regulation 



Codes of ethics abound in the news business. Most 
newsrooms have at least one of them framed and 
hanging where it might occasionally catch a journalistic 
eye. Several major wire services have produced such 
documents, as have a number of major newspapers and 
networks. Various organizations m the industry, ranging 
from the American Newspaper Guild (the journalists" 
union in the United States and Canada) to the 
Canadian Daily Newspaper Publishers Association 
have produced their versions, too. All speak in glowing 
generalities of the news person's moral rights, duties 
and responsibilities. Two such codes are included in 
Appendix C of this report. 

Unfortunately, the common flaw of all such 
documents is that they are far too general to be 
practical guides to news people in dealing with the 
moral specifics of their work. At the time of writing the 
Canadian Daily Newspaper Publishers Association was 
preparing such a code: one senior Ontario editor who 
saw it in draft form told us. "It's a motherhood thing. 
Otherwise it would never get past the cdnpa." (This was 
offered in a conversation outside the context of the 
research interviews.) 

Within the context of the interviews, however, 
question 14 sought the views of the respondents about 
the ethics of newsgathering - what they feel does, and 
what does not. constitute "good taste": what sorts of 
information might be considered "taboo", or unpublish- 
able. from an ethical standpoint. 

Not one of the subjects made any reference to any 
established or formal code of ethics, but 22 of them did 
indicate a concern for ethical standards in the business. 
Furthermore, they expressed the belief that standards 
do exist, at least in the unwritten and informal sense, 
and that these are adhered to by the great majority of 
news people. 

The problem is one of vagueness and lack of direc- 
tion. It became quite apparent that ethical questions 
tend to be resolved on an ad hoc basis by individuals 
acting alone, and only rarely in consultation with 
colleagues. The overview from the interview material 
was of a scattering of ethical potsherds, with each 
individual selecting his or her own bits and pieces, but 



only a few fragments receiving general recognition as 
parts of a whole. Several people with whom we talked 
recognized this general vagueness and lack of cohesion. 
A reporter in Sudbury told us. "1 think they [the 
standards] are probably unwritten, and they all come 
down to that undefinable thing of good taste and 
concern for your fellow man. I don't think there's 
anything you can sort of write down. It depends on the 
calibre of the people and the individual medium." 

"What guidelines are there?" another reporter asked. 
"Only your own. You have to establish your own." 

While the general notion of the desirability of ethical 
behaviour was present in virtually all the replies, the 
articulation of specific principles was inevitably 
laborious and hesitant. Apart from the expected shibbo- 
leths regarding the need for accuracy and fairness in 
reporting, and the rather dubious traditional obligation 
of honour not to reveal sources, only one statistically 
significant theme emerged. Expressed, in one form or 
other, by 1 1 respondents, this theme had to do with the 
notion that people involved in tragic or embarrassing 
circumstances must be protected if the publication of 
names and details will serve no useful community infor- 
mation purpose.*" Suicides: victims of criminal activity, 
and even the perpetrators of crime in some instances; 
persons discovered in sexual activities contravening 
social norms; persons involved in manifestations of 
aberrant behaviour caused by alcoholism or emotional 
breakdown - all of these were mentioned as situations 
where names, and even descriptions in detail of the 
events, normally would be withheld for humane 
reasons. "Normally" is the operative word here. No 
story is ipso facto unprintable, and where a story is 
deemed to be of public importance or to be of extensive 
public interest, names and details will be published and 
broadcast. One reporter described w hat would seem to 
be a fairly widespread guideline in these words: 
"Suicides we don't handle unless they occur in public. If 
a guy takes a header off the clock tower in the 
[Peterborough] Market Square at high noon in the 
middle of a crowd of people, we'll use it. If a guy blows 
his brains t)ut in his basement, forset it." The same 



20 



sentiment seems to apply to all essentially private mora! 
embarrassments and tragedies. 

An editor in Western Ontario commented: "Good 
taste is an important aspect of news. There's no legal 
restriction as far as I know that you can't use the name 
of a rape victim, but we haven't done it for many, many 
years. Surely nothing is to be gained by putting her 
name in the papers so that for the rest of her life she's 
going tt) be marked as a woman who was raped . . . ." 

The same editor did draw the line, however, at 
questions of aberrant behaviour among people in public 
life, or entrusted with some important social responsi- 
bility. "Perhaps not from a bedroom point of view, if 
you like, but any other kind of . . . activity . . . drunk 
driving, I think, is one place. A guy who is in a respon- 
sible position should know better than to go out and get 
nailed for drunk driving .... 

"If a prominent person is involved and convicted in 
some kind of se.x perversion, I think the public should 
know about it . . . that this is the kind of man this guy is. 
Of course, if it comes to the business of illegal activities 
such as fraud or theft, I feel very strongly the public 
should know about it." 

Apart from the general sense that news people should 
behave in a broadly ethical manner, and the single, 
rather more specific guidelinejust described, there was 
little agreement among the respondents about what 
constitutes the chapter and verse of a code of ethics. 
Apparently news people don't share ideas in this area 
with each other to any extent, although individuals 
presented many different and interesting ideas. One 
editor noted, for instance, that the media have a bad 
habit of publicizing the names of people involved in 
criminal charges, but rarely give as much prominence to 
the intbrmation - perhaps six months later - that the 
courts have found the accused not guilty. A reporter 
was distressed that the media were, in her view, often 
less than humane in treating criminal news in cases 
where the accused is manifesting apparent symptoms of 
mental disorder. ,'\nother reporter felt that the media 
occasionally sensationalize criminal news to the point 
where cases are judged in the press before they ever 
come to trial. 

One individual felt an ethical convention was needed 
to guarantee sympathetic treatment of the physically 
handicapped. Another felt a code would be useful to 
guide reporters on the degree of detail to be included in 
descriptions of accidents - his concern was the effect an 
over-abundance of detail might have on a victim's 
familv and friends. Still another individual felt some 
restraining guideline would be appropriate to govern 
the use of swear words in print and broadcast. 

Finally, one comment came in different forms from 
three subjects. Their collective point was that such 
restraints as may be exercised by newspapers in the 
coverage of news in print tend to disappear in the 
photographic presentation of information. One example 
given was that a newspaper in Western Ontario printed 



a photograph showing in detail, how young school 
vandals were manufacturing a crude form of incendiary 
device. Two other reporters, in different communities, 
questioned the social value of a sequence of photo- 
graphs, used by many newspapers throughout North 
America in 1975, showing a woman falling to her death 
from the fire escape of a collapsing tenement in Boston. 
The point was that the photos had no apparent value 
beyond the crudest form of sen.sationalism. 

Ethical systems presumably derive logically from 
broader philosophic fundamentals; it would seem to 
follow naturally that vagueness and uncertainty about 
the tenets of an ethical system must be symtomatic of 
vagueness and uncertainty about greater principles. For 
the press, the wellspring of newsroom ethics must be the 
grand concept that press freedom is a necessary prior 
condition of liberal democracy, and it is distressing to 
find that the great majority of our respondents were as 
vague about the nature, purpose, and associated respon- 
sibilities of this ancient freedom as they were about a 
systematic approach to ethics. 

The literature, of course, abounds in definitions and 
interpretations of freedom of the press. These range 
from such traditional landmarks - which surely ought to 
be basic reading for all journalists - as Milton's 
Areopagitica of 1644 and the definitive nineteenth- 
century essays of John Stuart Mill, especially his On 
Liberty, to the very rich body of twentieth-century 
material which attempts to interpret the concept of 
press freedom for modern society.'" Not one person 
made any references to these sources, ancient or 
modern, in response to questions 15 and 16, which 
sought a definition of press freedom and its associated 
responsibilities. 

Few of the respondents were hesitant about offering 
answers and, indeed, there was considerable agreement 
among them as to what constitutes press freedom. But 
the answers were almost universally simplistic and 
tended to interpret press freedom very narrowly as 
relating to the news person's own personal liberty - his 
safety, really. Very few respon.ses recognized in any 
clear and specific way the broad social significance of 
free information flow. No one identified or discussed 
press freedom as a right not specifically, or even 
primarily, of the journalist - but of the society at large 
and the individuals in it. 

Fully 23 respondents described press freedom as 
being able to write on any subject, within the 
constraints of the law regarding contempt of court and 
libel, without fear of personal reprisal or harassment of 
any kind. TTiis was the single most dominant point. 
Fairness, truth, and accuracy, as these may be under- 
stood by individual journalists, were the only recog- 
nized moral restraints on the process: there was no 
mention of any concern for individual or social conse- 
quences of publicity. 

It was striking that, in the context of these two 
questions. 18 people expressed fear about the intentions 



21 



of government at all levels with regard to press freedom. 
This suspiciousness of government, which is certainly 
healthy enough to a degree, seems to be something of an 
obsession that may tend to blind news people to other 
threats. For instance, only one person spoke in the 
context of other, often more subtle, infringements of 
press freedom, such as those imposed by the very 
sophisticated and highly manipulative public relations 
processes of private enterprise and large social institu- 
tions. 

The best understanding of the news person's ideas 
about press freedom comes from his own words on the 
subject. A representative selection of comments 
excerpted from the interview material follows. 

A Toronto editor said. "What's it mean to me? It 
means the right to publish the truth without interference 
from the state." 

Also in Toronto, a wire service reporter described the 
concept this way: "I guessjust what it says, the basic 
right to be free, to tell people what's going on. That's 
really hard to define. It's more of a feeling than 
anything . . . ." 

A London copy editor said. "We are at liberty to 
report on anything that politicians say. do. actions they 
take. .And this is one thing, you know, that you can't do 
in many countries." 

Finallv. a reporter in Windsor recognized the 
existence of threats from sources other than govern- 
mental ones in these words: "It [press freedom] is one of 
those things that in theory is there, but in practice I 
don't always think so. Most organizations . . .just give 
you what they want you to have. Unless you can afford 
to have on staff people who do nothing but research or 
investigative reporting, you very often are not privy to 
the information that would make a good story." 

In question 16. we asked about the responsibilities 
associated with press freedom; again, the answers were 
characterized by their simplistic nature. The problem of 
vagueness and hesitancy in response, were again 
present. For the most part, the answers emphasized the 
need for fairness and accuracy in reporting (15 respon- 
ses); and honesty (seven responses). These qualities are 
clearly desirable, of course, but the general lack of any 
more substantive notions about press responsibility was 
disappointing. News people seem to give ver\' little 
thought to the nature of their community information 
role and the responsibilities it entails. The following 
excerpts are typical of most of the responses we 
received. 

To a reporter in Oshawa. responsibility is "to present 
things in a fair and accurate manner." A television news 
director in Sudbury said. "Truthful, factual reporting. 
That's the name of^ the game. That's the criterion." A 
Peterborough television reporter told us much the same 
thing; "I think the important responsibility is to get the 
facts straight .... There can be many, many sides [to a 
story). Find out what they are and print as much of the 
truth as possible." 



Finally, a copy editor in London said "honesty" was 
the one-word answer to the question. He added ". . . in 
the same society which guarantees freedom of the press 
there is freedom of opinion on the part of the viewers or 
readers. A newspaper which wants for one reason or 
another to pull the wool over readers' eyes on a certain 
issue isn't going to get away with it." 

The general picture provided by these examples is 
hardly impressive but. as with the question on ethics, a 
number of isolated individual comments indicate the 
presence of some depth of thought on the question of 
responsibility. 

A Toronto reporter was alone among his colleagues 
in offering this important idea: "There's a difl^erent kind 
of responsibility, one involving the dissemination of as 
complete an account of what happens in the community 
as possible. It is in the coverage of events that aren't 
particularly spectacular. I think in this area the media 
don't live up to their responsibilities." 

A television news director in Western Ontario 
expressed concern that in their anxiety to acquire infor- 
mation, news people may lack in common courtesy. 
"Another thing we ought to show is restraint." he said. 
"We shouldn't be seen falling ail over ourselves to 
intrude on the privacy of others. We should show that 
we can have a little dignity, too." 

A young woman who writes for a newspaper in 
Eastern Ontario commented. "We should be more 
humanitarian. There's a responsibility not to destroy 
someone or some group or some cause simply to get it 
in there and make a headline." And in a similar vein, a 
London editor said. "Our responsibility is to provide 
information in the public interest without unnecessarily 
destroying or disrupting something of worth in society." 

Several reporters made the point that overwriting is a 
temptation that faces all journalists, and there is an 
important responsibility to resist this anti-social 
compulsion. "I think there are quite a few reporters who 
tend to do a little bit of creative writing when they put a 
piece together." one reporter told us. Another put the 
problem this way: "I think the media try to live up to 
the concept or idea of accuracy, but it's very difficult. 
You have to write in such a way that often you really 
have to work the facts to make them more interesting, 
and I suppose in a sense that's overplaying something." 

Vagueness and superficiality again characterized 
most of the responses we received to questions 17 and 
18. dealing with methods of public feedback into the 
news dissemination process and their adequacy. A third 
ingredient, however, which might be described as trucu- 
lence - even hostility - replaced vagueness as a quality 
characteristic of responses to questions 19. 20. 21 and 
22, which introduced ideas of various .sorts and degrees 
of public media controls. Unfortunately, the superfi- 
ciality remained throughout. 

In response to the questions on existing methods of 
public redress and feedback into the news dissemi- 
nation process, and their adequacy, virtually everyone 



22 



we spoke with said there were three methods of 
complaint: write a letter, place a telephone call, or drop 
down to the office and knock on the editor's or news 
director's door. And again, virtually all respondents felt 
these methods were entirely adequate. 

Some pointed out that the law protects individuals 
and groups against the worst of media excesses. Perhaps 
significantly, only two individuals suggested the avenue 
of formal complamt to the Ontario Press Council or one 
of several local press councils functioning in the 
province. 

Of course, there were exceptions, and, again the 
exceptions are worth describing in some detail. 
Prommcnt among these is the approach taken to reader 
involvement by The Toronio Star, as described to us by 
several Star writers included in the interview sample. 

A senior editor of the newspaper serves as an 
"ombudsman", concerning himself with his paper's 
relationship with its readers. His duties include writing 
a periodic column which addresses problems specific to 
the Star and, more generally, to the broader state of 
journalism. The Star also maintains a "bureau of 
accuracy" which, if nothing else, at least provides an 
oBice and a focal point of sorts for reader concerns and 
complamts within the newspaper's rather gigantic ■ 
organization. Finally, the Starha.?, a practice of selecting 
stories from the news pages, and sending them to 
individuals directly or indirectly involved. These people 
are asked to comment upon the accuracy, emphases, 
and general appropriateness of the stories. 

Admirable though these devices may be in theory, 
control in each case is held firmly within the Star organ- 
ization. Readers and the community at large are 
involved in no way in their operation, and without such 
input, the usefulness of such devices clearly is limited. 

The response of one Star staff member to question 1 7 
indicates that the program has at least some impact 
upon the newsroom; unfortunately, his comments also 
reveal the difficulties involved in any system which 
allows an individual or organization to sit in judgment 
on its own actions: ". . . we run a bureau of accuracy 
here into which readers make their complaints about 
something they feel is wrong with the paper. The 
complaint is thoroughly examined. If it is justified, a 
correction is run in the paper. If the reader just didn't 
understand, he is given a letter explaining the misunder- 
standing. If he's strictly disagreeing, and it's a question 
of opinion - his opinion - he has a full letters page in 
this paper, and we print about 400 letters a week . . . ." 

LInforiunately, such apparent concern rarely is visible 
elsewhere in the province, though there are a few other 
hopeful notes. In Sudbury, a television station has a 
weekly comment show in which the company president 
reads and comments upon letters he has received from 
viewers. And in a Western Ontario community, an 
editor offered an interesting suggestion. His point was 
that many readers are not skilled at writing or putting 
their thoughts on paper. "I've wondered sometimes if 



we shouldn't have someone here in the office who could 
help people to compose letters expressing their 
thoughts." 

Unfortunately, however, the position of the reader or 
viewer vis-a-vis most Ontario media is summarized in 
these words from an editor: ". . . if you don't like the 
way we've handled a story, boy, there's nothing you can 
do unless we've overstepped the legal bounds in which 
case you can sue us. But that's it." 

The superficial and even cavalier approach to the two 
questions about existing and traditional processes of 
media-audience interaction turned to suspicion, 
occasionally to hostility, in responses to the questions 
raising possibilities of various forms of media content 
control and monitoring. Two questions, for instance, 
dealt with press councils. Question 20 asked for 
opinions about voluntary councils without any form of 
coercive authority, of which Ontano has several 
operating examples. Question 21 asked news people 
how they would react if such bodies exercised some sort 
of binding authority, perhaps under legislation. 

Statistical summaries of the responses to both these 
questions are revealing. It was disappointing, but not 
surprising, that 14 respondents dismissed press councils 
in their present non-coercive form as being ineffective 
to the point of uselessness. It was surprising, however, 
that eight people, most of them television personnel, 
said they had little or no knowledge of the concept, and 
felt unable to offer useful answers. In answer to 
question 21, fully 22 subjects rejected the idea of press 
councils with any kind of binding authoritv. legislated 
or otherwise; another seven said that, while the 
subjection of the press to some form of citizen control 
might be acceptable, legislated control in any form 
would not be acceptable. Only one individual felt there 
would be merit in making the press accountable to some 
sort of public body, even one with authority derived 
from legislation. 

A better sense of the meaning of these statistics 
comes from the words of the respondents. A Toronto 
editor said about press councils in general, "Ineffective. 
They don't do anything. I might add that any decision 
by a body like that, by its nature, would be a bit like the 
United Nations in a way. It couldn't be binding unless 
people agreed." 

A reporter said, "The idea is ridiculous. If somebody 
has a beef that he couldn't straighten out just by going 
to the person [news person] responsible, then chances 
are he has an axe to grind." 

An editor in Western Ontario spoke more kindly 
about press councils, but he too had serious reserva- 
tions: "I think thev serve a useful purpose, but I'm 
afraid it's a very limited one. I don't think the public is 
convinced, really, that it [the press council in his 
communitv] is anv more than an organization for 
mutual protection . . . ." 

Another Western Ontario editor also damned the 
press council concept with faint praise: "I think they 



23 



have a place, and can make a valuable contribution. I 
think where the failure is. and I'm not sure how we can 
cure this, is thai the public don't use them enough. And 
very often 1 feel that the matters that do come to the 
press council are really inconsequential." 

While benign indifference seems to charactenze press 
attitudes toward existing press councils without binding 
authority, the attitude shifts considerably, at the 
suggestion that press councils might perform their work 
more effectively if they were given real authority. 

A London reporter told us that press councils could 
only work if they were given such authority, but he went 
on: "The whole concept of a regulatory body strikes at 
the very roots of freedom of the press. If we have to 
have one [ a press council] it would have to have teeth, 
but I certainly wouldn't want to see it happen." 

In Windsor, a television writer said "I suppose I'm 
reacting like any good journalist ought to react - you 
know, the red flag goes up." 

One Toronto newspaper reporter, felt there might be 
merit in having press councils with real authority. But 
he felt such councils still would have little real impact 
upon press performance. "I think it would be good 
probably . . . but it would be almost as ineffectual as 
what we now have. I just can't anticipate the press 
council [with authority] making any decisions that 
would to any extent influence the behaviour of 
newspapers or journalists. The council might order a 
paper to print a correction. Big deal." 

Mistrust and hostility characterized most of the 
responses to question 22, asking about the content 
control aspects of the work of the Canadian Radio-Tel- 
evision and Telecommunications Commission, and the 
possibility of extending the crtc's authority, or estab- 
lishing a similar organization, to regulate newspaper 
publishing. 

A statistical summary of the responses was devel- 
oped. Of the 30 responses, seven were eliminated from 
the summary either because the subject clearly had 
insufficient knowledge about the c rtc to comment 
meaningfully, or because it was impossible to extract 
unequivocal opinions about the agency from the 
responses in question. Incidentally, ignorance and/or 
lack of opinion did not cluster among either television 
or newspaper personnel. Of the 23 subjects who gave 
clear opinions. 10 said the commission does useful work 
in regulating television, while 13 were solidly opposed to 
all aspects of its work in the television environment. 
Twenty-one respondents opposed the establishment of a 
CRTC style authority over the print media. One said this 
aspect of the question was irrelevant, as the crtc was 
not now involved in print regulation and it was. to him, 
preposterous even to consider the future possibility. 
One person saw the concept as a possibility. 

Once again, it is necessary to go to the comments of 
the people interviewed to get at the real sense of these 
statistics. A wire service editor demonstrated the depth 
of the majority of his colleagues' misgivings about 



governmental regulatory involvement in the news 
processing function. He cited a case of what he 
regarded as the most offensive sort of journalism 
practised by a Toronto radio station which had come to 
the attention of the crtc at a licence renewal hearing in 
January, 1976. "They played a tape of an extremely 
offensive newscaster called [name of broadcaster ] who 
talked about a body found in a lake as a "floater", and 
children dead in a fire as "crispy critters", and this type 
of awful, in my opinion, really awful reporting." 

The owner of the station was asked by the commis- 
sioners if he thought this was responsible journalism. 
Our respondent commented. "Well, in the event 
[owner's name] doesn't know what the hell he's doing at 
his radio station. I think the crtc has a moral obligation 
to point out to him what they thought of the newscast." 

But the extent of this editor's misgivings about 
governmental regulatory involvement in news 
processing becomes starkly clear in his unwillingness to 
condone crtc censure of even this sort of extreme and 
cruel journalistic irresponsibility. "... I think the crtc 
had a moral obligation to point out to him what they 
thought of his newscast, but that's as far as it goes. They 
can't start telling him his newscaster can't write that 
stuff. . . I think the crtc has far overstepped its bounds 
and somebody is eventually going to challenge the 
crtc's authority in court and they're going to win. I 
guarantee it . . . they're just swimming along because 
nobody can stand up to them. But if somebody does, it's 
[the crtc] just going to crumble like a house of cards." 

A television reporter offered this, rather less dramatic 
comment: "It's such a powerful organization over what 
the broadcast media are doing .... I don't think there 
has been a lot of trouble over what goes on in the news 
side of broadcasting, but I would be very frightened 
about the same kind of thing over newspapers. I'm not 
happy with it over television. It gives me the impression, 
1 don't know, that there's something wrong . . . we've 
got this government body which holds the ultimate 
axe. . . ." 

And finally, in this vein, another television reporter, 
this time in Sudbury, said, "The crtc wants to envision 
itself as God. It's very, very dangerous." 

As indicated in the statistical summary, a number of 
people felt the c Ric was doing a necessary job. Usually, 
such comments came with caveats, however, as the 
following observation typifies: "The crtc's primary 
concern should be simply restricting the number of 
broadcast outlets operating on or close to the same 
frequency. But I think the crtc has extended its 
authority tremendously beyond the bounds that were 
really originally envisaged, and [is] getting into de facto 
editorial control of the broadcast media." 

Finally, a television reporter in Peterborough - one of 
the very few who saw good in crtc concerns about 
quality and saw the possibility, at least, of newspaper 
regulation - said, "We definitely should have a 
watchdog because you can slip into sloppy habits. An 



24 



awful lot of slatit)ns are more or less run by the sales 
department, and salesmen arc not particularly known 
for their moral values. I don"i know about newspapers. 
It might be a good idea, but they seem to have done a 
pretty good job of regulating themselves." 

This comment, and a very few others m a similar 
vein, were clearly exceptions. News people as a group 
find the very suggestion of governmental involvement in 
regulating the quality of news dissemination sheer 
anathema. In the responses to question 19, the notion of 
the self-regulation of news personnel through formal 
professionalization fared little better. 

The question raised the possibility of legislation to 
create enabling machinery that would permit news 
people to regulate themselves, in the same way that the 
medical and legal professions operate under self-regu- 
latory systems. Not one of our respondents offered 
unqualified support for the proposal. Seven individuals 
gave qualified approval, but in each case with the reser- 
vation that even the sort of minimal arms-length 
government involvement implied would be a hazard to 
press freedom. Fully 23 people were unreservedly 
opposed. Their responses contained 15 objections to the 
principle of any form of governmental involvement and 
ten e.xpressions of the view that the public interest is nt)t 
protected by existing medical and legal organizations, 
and presumably would not be protected by an equiv- 
alentjournalislic one. 

Here again is a representative sample of the 
comments from which the above statistics are derived. 
A Toronto newspaper editor said, "No. I wouldn't want 
to see any kind of licence, because when you do that, 
you know, the freedom of the press is gone. The profes- 
sional organizations you mentioned are on a diflferent 
basis entirely. A doctor operates not under public 
scrutiny. He operates in private, in secret, and a lawyer 
does too. The newspaper operates under full public 
scrutiny . . . The only safe method of policing a 
newspaper is to let the public police it." 

A Toronto reporter commented, "I would have no 
problem with such legislation. I think it would be every 
bit as inadequate as that governing doctors and lawyers. 
It would be a tine way to bamboozle the public into 
thinking there were some sort of controls even though 
there wouldn't be. There aren't any controls on doctors 
and lawyers now." (We assumed in the statistical 
assessment that this person was opposed to the 
principle.) 

This comment came from a reporter in Oshawa: 
"Particularly because news people are dealing very, very 
directly with the political element. I would be very 
sceptical about the wisdom of allowing some authority 
that came from the province or from any other level of 
government to do this, I don't think it would work." 

And finally, a reporter in London said, "I'm against 
that for the simple reason that I think journalists should 
be a rag-tag bunch of people .... I think that people 
they deal with should have a little bit of fear that they 



might be a little bit irresponsible, and therefore, particu- 
larly politicians and civil servants and so on, should 
watch their Ps and Qs when a newspaperman comes 
around. . . ." 



25 



Chapter Five 

Conclusions and Suggestions 



News people are not unaware that problems exist in 
their craft, that there are things they do - even tradi- 
tions they hold dear - which do not always serve the 
public interest. They seem unable to move with firm 
and demonstrated resolve in directions of reform, 
however. This is rather ironic as they have, especially in 
the past two decades, acted as catalysts in the agonies of 
reform and reassessment in so many other social institu- 
tions. 

Print and electronic journalists alike are almost 
always employees in the modern age, with little or no 
real power in the large family businesses and public 
corporations which employ them, and this may have a 
lot. or a little, to do with the problem. The American 
scholar-journalist Ben H. Bagdikian has pointed out 
that this was not always the case. In the early nineteenth 
century, when much of the body of liberal journalistic 
tradition was formulated, newspapers in his country 
were small businesses; few had daily circulations 
beyond 550 copies, and one man (occasionally with a 
helper or two) acted as corporate policy maker, 
reporter, editorial writer, printer-pressman, and delivery 
boy. Today, the journalist, even the news director or 
senior editor, is essentially an emplovee. and almost 
always removed from senior corporate policy-making 
levels. Bagdikian makes this comment on the position of 
the latter-day news person as employee of the tradi- 
tional family business: 

There is . . . the genetic roulette every community is forced to 
play with its local paper. If the heir of the publisher, or his son- 
in-law, happens to be an intelligent and effective journalistic 
leader, the community receives a good paper. But if the heir 
happens to be incompetent, or becomes more interested in 
breeding bulls, the community will receive an indifferent 
paper." 

Bagdikian adds that distinguished journalism - and he 
might have added innovative journalism as well - 
requires distinguished leadership, a matter of pure 
chance in the case of the family business, but a gamble 
in which he believes the odds become less than satis- 
factory when family newspapers pass into the hands of 
large corporations. Bagdilcian's succinct comment is 



this: "The demands of corporate efficiency and of 
journalism are often at odds."'- 

In Canada, the record of publishers and television- 
station owners in seeking to improve or change the 
processes of journalism is, in a word, awful. Many 
publishers will argue that they have invested enormous 
amounts of money in computer-related technology in 
very recent years. While this is quite true, the new 
technologies may have made news plants more cost- 
efficient, but they have had little or no impact upon the 
nature or quality of newsroom output. The work of 
Senator Keith Davey's Special Senate Committee on the 
Mass Media in 1969 and 1970 has had no measurable 
effect on journalism quality or conduct. Press councils, 
though not the high-profile national body envisioned by 
Senator Davey, have been established in Ontario and 
several other provinces, and at the local level in a 
handful of Canadian cities as well. But the impact these 
have had upon the conduct of journalism, and the level 
of public awareness they enjoy, are negligible. The 
journalists themselves, as the evidence of this study 
amply demonstrates, regard the councils with mingled 
indifl^erence and contempt. 

It seems unlikely that society can look to the 
publishers and owners for leadership in the admittedly 
risky (financially, at least) business of experimentation, 
innovation, and ultimate change in the nature of 
journalism. This leaves the workingjournalisis and the 
state as the remaining possible agents of change. The 
journalists interviewed for this study fear mightily the 
possibility of government involvement in their regula- 
tion, and often with very good reason, we feel. But the 
prospect of the journalists undertaking the task 
themselves obviously does not .seem bright. Bagdikian 
quite correctly places thejournalist m the follower-em- 
ployee role: this seems to rule out any real possibility of 
serious and innovative leadership emerging from the 
ranks of the newsroom. At the moment, there is little to 
suggest that Bagdikian's assessment is anything but 
precisely accurate. 

The journalists" largest organization, and their only 
one of any consequence, is the American Newspaper 
Guild. However, it is unabashedly a union and it pays 



26 



scant attention to questions of journalistic quality. 
Media Probe, published in Toronto and edited by 
Professor F.arle Beattie of York University, is the only 
established journal of media criticism in Ontario, and it 
has but a token circulation among workingjoumalists. 
Content, a monthly newspaper for journalists, also 
published in Toronto, has a wider circulation among 
news people, but from promising beginnings in 1970 
under its founding editor, Dick MacDonald of 
Montreal, it has degenerated recently into little more 
than an industry news gossip sheet. 

What is most depressing, when one looks for signs of 
leadership among the journalists themselves, is that they 
reject most criticism out of hand: if they do recognize 
its possible validity, they respond with generalizations 
that place the blame elsewhere. This kind of thinking 
became abundantly clear to us during the interview 
process. Moving outside that context, it seems especially 
well demonstrated by Borden Spears. The Toronto Star's 
ombudsman, in one of his columns: 

Whether or not they [the journalists] can persuade their readers 
of the fact, they know they are doing their honest best to 
portray the world as they find it. When they do, they meet the 
response that has always been accorded the bearer of bad 
tidings.'-' 

Spears was reacting to a Lou Harris poll of 1975 which 
indicated a significant decrease during the preceding 
decade in public trust in a number of occupational 
groups and institutions, including the press. He is 
probably right that many people today might 
occasionally like to assassinate thejournalistic bearer of 
bad news: quite illogical, of course, and to complete 
the analogy which is one of Spears' favourite - not 
unlike certain ancient Persians who are said to have 
actually done in their unfortunate messengers. Spears is 
not alone among newsmen, most of whom love to use 
this analogy of the ancient messenger without admitting 
to the glaring logical non sequiiur it contains. Unlike his 
classic counterpart, who merely grabbed the message 
given to him and ran, the modern news person does 
much to shape the content and to determine the priority 
of the message, and even to decide whether or not he 
will carry it at all. This suggests a responsibility to 
society which many news people seem unwilling (or 
unable) to understand. 

Certainly, the widespread rationalizations and denials 
of responsibility will not lead to useful self-criticism and 
self-evaluation. And without these, state regulation 
tragicially must come - to fill a vacuum, if nothing else 
- as it has come inexorably and inevitably to .so many 
other institutions and aspects of Canadian life in recent 
decades.''' 

Ihe landscape is not entirely bleak, perhaps, and it is 
possible that the journalists themselves, given the right 
incentives, might act before the matter is out of their 
hands. While the interviews we conducted set in stark 
relief a lot of things that are very wrong, they also give 
repeated indications that at least a substantial minority 



among news people know that all is not well in the 
garden, and that they are uncomfortable about it. TTie 
implications of the Bagdikian hypothesis, of course, are 
that it is as pointless to expect serious leadership from 
the newsroom as it is to expect it from the publishers 
and owners: in the remaining pages, however, we oflfer a 
few thoughts and suggestions which make the optimistic 
assumption that this is not necessarily the case. 

1. Rewrite the Definition of News 
The world, and the people in it, do not move through 
time in a spasmodic chaos of unrelated crises and 
isolated "events". And yet, in the main, this is the way 
the world is presented to the community by the news 
fraternity. News people know this, but they are locked 
in a peculiar journalistic mould which demands that 
news be no more than a few hours old: that it be close 
to home, psychologically if not physically: and that it be 
"interesting", in effect entertaining, to the reader or 
viewer. Only after news meets these criteria is its impor- 
tance to society in absolute or historic terms considered. 
Everyone knows that his or her own life, most of the 
time, is a process that moves though time in an intricate 
series of cause and effect relationships. Why. then, 
should an audience be asked to accept as reality a 
distorted portrait of the world that consists of isolated 
and fragmented events, crises, more often than not, 
paraded with wide-eyed and unnatural excitement 
through the news columns and across the video screen. 

In the earliest days of journalism, information was 
often presented as a relatively leisurely chronicling of 
processes in the world and the community. We have 
referred (see especially page 6) to the concept of process 
journalism as opposed to the prevalent event-centred 
journalism of modern convention. Much of the better 
eighteenth - and early nineteenth - century journahsm. 
though it certainly had other problems of its own. 
described processes rather than events, and this might 
be an appropriate new direction for modern news 
presentation. The growing incidence in many 
newspapers of commentary material, extended inter- 
pretive and backgrounding articles, and the like, and of 
documentary news treatment in television, suggests that 
the possibility of process journalism is already appre- 
ciated to some extent. Such work inevitably remains 
"pegged" to hard news events, however, and constitutes 
no real change in the generally held notions about 
newsworthiness of information. 

The .American media critic Daniel Boorstin has 
described the whole problem in these words: 

We need not be theologians to see that we have shifted respon- 
sibility for making the world interesting from God to the 
newspaperman. We used to believe there were only so many 
"events" in the world. If there were nol many intriguing or 
startling occurrences, it was no fault of the reporter. He could 
not be expected to report what did not exist. 
Within the last hundred years, however, and especially in the 
twentieth century, all this has changed. We expect the papers 



27 



to be full of news. If there is no news visible to the naked eye. 
or to the average citizen, we will expect it to be there for the 
enterprising newsman. The successful reporter is one who can 
find a ston,'. even if there is no earthquake or assassination or 
civil war. If he cannot find a story, then he must make one - by 
the questions he asks of public figures, by the surprising human 
interest he unfolds from some commonplace event, or by "the 
news behind the news". If all else fails, then he must give us a 
"think piece" - an embroidering of well-known facts, or a 
speculation about startling things to come.'^ 

Of course, there will always be elements in the news 
which are best treated as events, sudden natural 
disasters and such being among them. But the lives of 
individuals, the progress of organizations, and the 
evolution of society itself, which ought to be 
journalism's major concerns, are processes and they 
should be treated as such. Violent intrusions really are 
the only aspects oflife that happen suddenly, isolated in 
time, graphically and dramatically - that is to say, 
"entertainingly" - and without immediately apparent 
relationships to processes. 

In other words, as it is now defined, news really 
means news of violence, because violence is the only 
kind of activity which naturally and perfectly fits the 
news person's understanding of the nature of news. 

This is why news people gravitate to violence, not 
merely in the obvious sense of chronicling criminal 
activity and disasters of all kinds - which some editors 
and news directors are actively downplaying nowadays 
- but, as Boorstin implies, also in the myriad more 
subtle forms which violence can take. The media 
sometimes emphasize governmental crisis or scandal 
while ignoring the routine of Parliament and public 
administration. They focus upon the economic threat, 
rather than describing the course of the economy so 
that everyone might understand it. They single out the 
obscure disease, the bizarre occurrence - and the whole 
range of Chicken Little things that might happen to us 
but seldom do, instead of telling us about each other's 
real lives and the routine of our communities. 

News people must realize that their confining 
definition of news also leaves them vulnerable to manip- 
ulation by individuals and groups seeking publicity for 
purposes that may or may not be pro-social. The 
concept of the "media event" is common coinage in the 
currency of the public vocabulary. In essence, it means 
the staging of an event which the news fraternity, given 
its rigid understanding of what constitutes news, feels 
compelled to cover. We were struck by the fact that 16 
of our respondents mentioned organized labour's 
national day of protest as one of the major stories of the 
past six months. For several months in advance of 
October 14, 1976. the news fraternity knew that there 
would be a specific day filled with specific events 
ranging from fiery speeches to strikes to possible 
incidents of violence. The day fizzled when it finally 
arrived, but it drew undivided media attention anyhow. 
By creating it, the labour movement drew vastly more 
attention to itself and its views than would have been 



the case had these been left in their natural perspective 
as an aspect of a general process of labour economics at 
work in society. Reporters might want to ask themselves 
how often these days they seem to be covering not 
events, but staged events, and to what extent they are 
influenced by them, and for what reasons. 

During the interview process it became apparent that 
some news people, at least, recognize that problems 
exist with the event-centred definition of news. Some 
are concerned about the problem of manipulation it 
creates, and thev might like to move toward the more 
natural activity of describing processes. The almost 
instinctive fear news people have of being beaten to a 
story by representatives of another medium is probably 
the most important restraining factor. There is irony 
here, because the powerful economic competition, 
historically so strong in the media, and underlying the 
apparently keen sense of competition still felt among 
news people themselves, no longer has any real 
substance. 

In their responses to our eleventh question, 24 
respondents said their newsrooms were in direct and 
vital competition with other newsrooms, and indicated 
they react accordingly in their individual newsgathering 
activities. Yet most newspapers and television stations 
today are the only representatives of their respective 
media in the markets they serve. Even though many 
communities boast both a newspaper and a television 
station, audiences view television and read newspapers 
at diff"erent times and for different reasons. 

Genuine, direct competition probably continues to 
exist in the Toronto television market. But, even there, 
the shared audience would be better served if the 
television newsrooms ignored each other and got on 
with the telling of Toronto's story, each in its unique 
way. Some corporate advertising competition exists in 
the Toronto and Ottawa newspaper markets, but it is 
not sufficiently intense tojustify its extension into the 
newsrooms. Each of Toronto's three dailies is unique in 
character, and each has carved out a distinct socio-eco- 
nomic market for itself: any market overlap that may 
exist cannot be seen asjustification for important 
competition among journalists. Ottawa's papers are 
more similar to each other, leaving a reason (if not an 
excuse) for continuing journalistic competition in that 
city alone in Ontario. 

2. Let Them Tell Their Own Story 

News people feel verv much misunderstood by the 
public, and this leads to the jaundiced view of society 
that is shared by many news people. Obviously, this 
attitude must colour their work and aflfect the news 
selection process. Yet, in the main, the telling of the 
news story has been left to Hollywood and the 
occasional novelist. Woodward and Bernstein of 
Watergate and Washington Post fame haven't helped. 
Real news people know that the aggressive, intimi- 
dating, newsgathering methods depicted by Robert 



28 



Redford and Dustin HofTman in the film version of All 
the President's Men don't work verv well with most 
people most of the time. Journalists know that any hack 
can look good (for a while) with a contact like "Deep 
Throat", but that such contacts are both extremely rare 
and highly suspect. 

Real newsgathering is hard, time-consuming, often 
bormg work, as our respondents have described it. 
News people are underpaid, relatively speaking; they do 
run into people who are rude or devious in their 
treatment of reporters; they do run mto people at 
parties who seize the opportunity to push pet projects 
(or are afraid to talk at all); and they are mdifferently 
treated by their employers. Finally, the London 
newsman who told us that the general public hasn't a 
"scintilla of an idea" about the realities of the newsgath- 
ering, editing, and production processes, is entirely 
correct. 

Our point is a simple one. Clearly, no one else is 
going to tell the news person's story if he doesn't do it 
himself. It is an important story of an important social 
process. With the accurate telling of it, stereotypes will 
fade, and a useful dialogue might begin between the 
news fraternity and its audience. 

3. Journalism Must Recognize Its Responsibilities 

In their responses to the tenth question. 16 of our 
subjects said the reporter should restrict himself to the 
purely objective reporting of events: another nine felt 
that news interpretation is necessary, but that it should 
not be carried to the point of subjective-opinion 
journalism. Objectivity is an old and fundamental tenet 
of the liberal journalistic tradition. Apparently it has 
survived, more or less in tact, the challenge of the "new 
journalists" of the l%Os who argued that journalism 
could only become a humane and honest process if the 
journalist were allowed, and indeed encouraged, to let 
his own emotions and subjective perceptions colour 
everything he wrote. The classic liberal statement that 
the essential role of the journalist must he to convey 
information, as anonymously as possible, to a public 
that will decide upon the merits of cases, seems to have 
an eternal logic in a democratic environment. The 
passing of the subjective essay - long on opinion and 
short on factual data - which constituted so much of the 
new journalism, is surely not to be regretted. 

The new journalists did make the valid point, 
however. They maintained that traditional objectivity 
breeds detachment in the traditional journalist: it too 
often becomes an excuse for denial of responsibilitv for 
his actions. Journalists, and manv others too. became 
painfully aware a full quarter century ago of the 
weakness inherent in objective detachment when the 
American television commentator Edward R. Murrow. 
u.sed his network broadcast Hear It Now to demonstrate 
the fearful degree of manipulation news people 
permitted, all in the name of journalistic objectivit\, in 
their coverage of Senator Joseph McCarthy's infamous 



hearings on un-American activities." Perhaps as a 
result of the experience, few North American journalists 
today are quite as ready to blindly write whatever they 
are told. However, the process of creating an objective 
but responsible journalism is far from complete. It is 
now almost 30 years since the Commission on the 
Freedom of the Press published its two-volume report 
of research into the state of American journalism." 
That document is still fundamental reading for all 
journalists. It made a number of recommendations, 
including this one: News must be a "truthful, compre- 
hensive account of the day's events in a context which 
gives them meaning." This means that it is not enough, 
however objective the exercise may be, to present infor- 
mation which the public cannot understand. News 
frequently must be interpreted, translated into under- 
standable language, if general comprehension is to be 
achieved. Even more important, news must be 
presented in a context that is meaningful to the reader. 
and reflective of the reality of his world. We cannot 
believe that much of today's event-centred journalism, 
with all its possibilities for distortion - the very thing the 
Commission found offensive 30 years ago - can 
honestly be regarded as meaningful in context or 
reflective of reality. 

It was particularly disturbing, especially in the 
responses to questions about the potential social impact 
of violence reporting, to find that so many of the people 
interviewed denied the responsibilitv of the journalist 
for the possible social impact of his reporting. They 
seemed to think it enough that theirs was accurate and 
objective in a narrow interpretation of these words. 

At this point, we can only repeat the words of the CBC 
news director who told us there is a responsibility "to 
inform not only at the lowest mass level, but at a 
somewhat higher level, too." It is, of course, all very 
well to recommend that journalists must accept respon- 
sibility for the impact of what they write. Clearly the 
installation of such a value as a working principle in the 
newsroom will not be easy, but an important step will 
have been taken when all journalists recognize that 
words, even truthful ones, can be more damaging than 
bullets. At a more concrete level, the remaining recom- 
mendations contain .some positive suggestions which, 
for better or worse, address themselves essentially to the 
great question of responsibilit\ in journalism. 

4. Make the Press Council \V ork 

The Ontario Press Council must be given a vitality it 
now sadly lacks, and a greatly expanded role. Only a 
handful of newspapers now belong to it. and those who 
do not include such critically important ones as The 
Globe and Mad. The Council's frame of reference does 
not now extend its concerns to the activities of radio 
and television newsrooms; the complaints it hears are 
few and insignificant: and its aflairs are poorly publi- 
cized. Few members of the public even realize the 



29 



Council exists as an avenue of redress against perceived 
media injustices. 

The Press CounciTs membership should include every 
news operation m the provmce mvolved in the dissemi- 
nation of information for general public consumption. 
Its executive functions should be in the hands of a 
group consisting of representatives of the lay public, 
media ownership, and working journalists, but the latter 
group should hold a proportionately larger share of 
votes than either of the others. Owners and audiences 
must have a vital presence on the Council, of course, 
but the demonstrated economic pre-occupation of 
owners, and the lack of knowledge about the news 
media among even the more sophisticated elements of 
the public, suggest the wisdom of givingjournalists the 
strongest voice, at least initially. Something of the 
substance of the proposed revitalized Council is 
developed m the context of the following suggestions, 
but in summary the proposals include these elements: 
authority derived from "arm's-length" legislation of the 
sort under which other professions function in Ontario, 
to establish standards of conduct and education, and to 
administer them: and assured and adequate funding, if 
necessary from the public purse. 

5. A System of Ethics 

The existing ad hoc approach to questions of journalistic 
ethics is inadequate. The evidence of this study suggests 
that news people give little thought to ethical concerns: 
they seem to assume that individually understood 
concepts of fairness and accuracy in reporting are 
sufficient. If members of the public fear or resent 
journalistic intrusions into their lives - as many news 
people we interviewed suggested or implied - a large 
part of the reason must be that members of the public 
have good cause to feel concerns. There are no 
guarantees as to exactly how information given may be 
handled. 

Brief ethical statements, of the sort provided in 
.\ppendix C, cannot work. They are much too general 
to be of practical value in application to specific 
individual situations: as we have seen, they are under- 
standably ignored by most working news people. A 
beginning might be made, however, by the estab- 
lishment of a commission charged with formulating a 
comprehensive statement of journalistic ethics. Such a 
commission, acting as an ad hoc committee of the 
revitalized Ontario Press Council, and acting under its 
authority, should be composed primarily of working 
journalists, but also should have significant represent- 
ation from the broader community. 

In itself, the work of the commission would serve only 
two initiating purposes: to focus the attention of all 
workingjournalists on ethical questions: and to provide 
a foundation statement of ethics upon which a practical 
and working system of ethical standards could be built. 

If a systematic statement of ethics is to have lasting 
and growing value, it will have to be applied on a day- 



to-day basis to specific situations, and here the 
experience of the British Press Council is instructive.'* 
The argument is often made - especially, it seems, in 
journalistic circles outside Britain - that the British 
Council is of no worth because it does not have the 
authority to enforce its decisions with a system of fines 
that would work a genuine economic hardship upon 
offending media and individual news people. This 
argument misses the point. 

The central and lasting worth of the British concept is 
that the Council, acting in its quasi-judicial capacity, 
hears cases of alleged media and individual journalistic 
ethical offences. Over the nearly two decades of its 
existence in its present form, it has developed a 
substantial body of decisions, published annually in 
book form, and now in the process of being indexed. 
This collection of precedents guides the Council as each 
new situation arises; it also serves most importantly as a 
before-the-fact guide for editors and writers. The body 
of Press Council decisions clearly is analogous in its 
content and in its application to the tradition of English 
precedent law: with each passing year, its decisions 
accumulate, making it more and more important as a 
system of ethical guidance for English journalism. 

The fact that the British Council has but nominal 
coercive power to enforce its rulings is not important. It 
is dealing, after all, with questions of ethics: the people 
and institutions who come before it are not criminals. 
The courts of law, the criminal code, and the law 
treating libel and contempt of court are forces 
supported by powerful coercive authority to deal with 
journalistic transgressions beyond the pale of legally 
accepted behaviour. Individuals and institutions coming 
before the Press Council will normally have a funda- 
mental respect for the concept of rule of law. For such 
as these, persuasion with a minimal or no coercive 
element should suflice. 

We would like to see, then, an Ontario Press Council, 
with an important quasi-judicial function provided for 
in its enabling legislation, more or less patterned after 
the British experience. It would use the statement of 
ethics which we have suggested as a foundation upon 
which to build, over time, its own body of precedent 
"law". It could, quite appropriately, borrow from the 
older British body as necessary, especially, perhaps, in 
the early years of its operation. In the process, in years 
to come, Ontario would evolve a comprehensive system 
of journalistic ethics completely compatible with the 
liberal democratic traditions of Canadian and Ontario 
society. 

6. Professionalization 

Few of our respondents saw merit in the concept of 
professionalization, but it is difficult to see any 
improvement in the practice of journalism being 
possible without it. The psychology of the journalist, as 
we have seen, is that of an employee without long-term 
policy formulating responsibilities. Essentially, this is 



30 



the point made by Bagdikian in the passages quoted 
earlier in this chapter. Unless this psychology can be 
changed, it is unlikely that leadership in reform can be 
sought among the ranks of the working journalists. 

Professionalization would seem to be the necessary 
precondition. 

Again, we would look to the revitalized Ontario Press 
Council to assume a leadership role. It would have, 
under the enabling legislation we have suggested, the 
necessary disciplinary machinery of a profession. This 
authority could be extended, perhaps through a 
committee of the Council composed entirely of working 
news people, to encompass the other usual appurte- 
nances of a formal profession. 

In the first place, there would have to be a careful 
entrenchment of professional control in the committee 
to ensure its freedom, not only from the possibility of 
political manipulation, but also from inappropriate and 
undue employer influence. 

Machinery would be needed to establish and admin- 
ister a set of educational standards for journalists. We 
believe that these requirements should be a university 
level, and that they should include definite components 
of journalism education, not only in the techniques of 
the craft, but in such important areas as journalism 
ethics, history, and law. Ontario has three established 
university-level schools of journalism, at The University 
of Western Ontario, Carleton University, and the 
Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. All three have excellent 
records, dating back to the 1940s, in the education and 
training of first-class newsroom personnel. Clearly, 
these institutions, with their rich experience in the 
education of journalists, must be involved deeply in the 
processes of establishing and maintaining standards of 
journalism education. 

It is a sad fact that these three schools have been 
rather neglected over the years. Their work has been 
conducted without appreciable industry support, moral 
or financial - a state of aflTairs quite reversing the 
relationship between medicine, law, engineering, and 
even business management, and their professional 
schools in the universities. There is something of a state 
of studied anti-intellectualism in the newsrooms of the 
province, a peculiar posture as most modern news 
people (im the daily papers and in the major television 
newsrooms, at least) ha\e quite thorough educations. Of 
the people we talked with. 16 held B.A. degrees, four 
more were graduates of one or other of the three 
journalism schools we have mentioned, and another 
three had experienced some post-secondary education. 
Despite this generally high educational level, in the 
response to question 31, in which we asked what sort of 
education a young person should acquire before 
entering upon a career in |ournalism. 13 people saw no 
particular value in a university education. Fourteen said 
a broad general B.A. would be helpful, and only three 
saw merit in a university journalism program. 

Finally, we believe professionalization must allow for 



research into many areas of newsroom activity, news 
content, and newsroom-audience relationships. Such 
work should be encouraged and funded, not especially 
among people working in academic environments 
outside the newsroom - though certainly there too - but 
more importantly among the news people themselves. 
We suggest for them a generous sabbatical system, 
funded by the media themselves as a condition of a 
professional newsroom environment. This would 
provide individual journalists with both the time and 
the money to study their work and to reflect upon it. 



31 



Endnotes 

1 Wilson. Phyllis, "The Nature of News." in Journalism 
Communicalion and the Law, G. Stuart Adam. ed. (Toronto: 
Prentice-Hall, 1976). 

2 Charnley. Mitchell. Reporting. (New York: Holt, Rinehart 
and Winston. 1975), p. 44. 

3 To Know and Be Known: The Report of the Task Force on 
Governmeni Information (Ottawa: The Queen's Pnnter, 1969). 
p. 11. 

4 For examples of studies of violence content in the news 
media, the reader is referred to several studies prepared m 
association with this one for the Royal Commission on 
Violence m the Communications Industry, including a second 
by the author. An Analysis of Some News-flow Patterns and 
Influences in the Province of Ontario. A number of important 
studies are identified in the bibliography. Appendix D to this 
report. 

5 Hunt, Todd, "Beyond the Journalistic Event: The Changing 
Concept of News." Mass Communications Review 1 (2), April, 
1974. pp. 23-30. 

6 A useful description of the concept of psychological proximity 
is provided in Cole. Richard and David Grey, "The Nature of 
News - Traditional Concepts" Handbook of Reporting 
Methods. Ma.xwell McCombs. Donald Shaw, and David Grey, 
eds. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1976), pp. 303-4. ' 

7 Occupational scales of several sorts are standard tools in 
sociology, and our question is really an adaptation of the 
concept. For an important Canadian occupational scale, and 
a discussion of its uses and limitations, see: Blishen. Bernard. 
"A Socio- Economic Index for Occupations in Canada" 
Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology. February. 
1967. 

8 One response to the question 26 was lost due to a technical 
problem in tape recording. The sample for this question was 
therefore reduced to 29. 

9 Even the apparently wide acceptance of this theme is offered 
with some hesitation. The interview subjects, or some of them 
at least, may have been prompted to some extent by the 
phrasing of question 14. 

10 For a succinct but thorough survey of the literature on press 
freedom, the reader is referred to Siebert, Fred S.. Theodore 
Peterson, and Wilbur Schramm. Four Theories of the Press 
(Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1956.) 

1 1 Bagdikian, Ben H., The Information Machines (New York: 
Harper and Row, 1971), pp. 120-1. 

12 Ibid 

13 Spears, Borden, "The Public Trusts Garbagemen More than 
Newsmen". The Toronto Star. July 12th. 1975. 

14 Government is deeply involved in the regulation of broadcast 
media in Canada, of course, but it is the writer's contention 
that government is also involved in a substantial policy 
formulation process in a number of areas which is altering the 
position of the print media in Canadian society. The reader is 
referred especially to Litvak. Isaiah and Christopher Maule. 
Cultural Sovereignty: The Time and Reader's Digest Case in 
Canat/u (Toronto: Burns and MacEachern. 1974.) 

15 Boorstin, Daniel, "From News-Gathering to News-Making: A 
Flood of Pseudo-Events," The Process and Effects of Mass 



Communication Wilbur Schramm and D. F. Roberts, eds. 
(Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1971.) pp. 116-117. 

16 A full account of Murrow's battle with McCarthy is in 
Friendly. Fred W.. Due to Circumstances Beyond Our 
Control. . . (New York: Vintage Books. 1967.) 

17 Commission on the Freedom of the Press. A Free and 
Responsible Press (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 
1947.) 

18 One of the best descriptions of the history, function, and 
philosophy of the Bntish Press Council is in Levy, H. Phillip. 
The Press Council: History. Procedure and Cases (New York: 
Macmillan. 1967.) 



32 



Appendix A 



see emphases in U.S. news that you don't see in Canadian 



A Questionnaire: 
The Perceptions and 
Attitudes of News Personnel 

Professor A . M. Osier 
August. 1976 

1. What are ihe two or three biggest news stories, local, 
national or international, which your newsroom has handled m 
the past six months or so? 

2. What special qualities, as news, did these stories have that 
make them stand out in your mind now? 

3. Lots of information is generated in the world every day. but 
only a minute portion of it is newsworthy. What are the 
qualities a piece of information must have to make it 
newsworthy? 

4. What kind of story is reallv going to gel vour newsroom 
excited squads of reporters and camera types dispatched, 
editors scrambling everywhere, reworking the front the script - 
the whole bit? 

5. As a news person, you have a really unique view of the 
world. Does this special vantage point make the news person 
different, or set him 'her apart in anv special way? 

6. News media seem frequently to be criticized these days for 
placing undue emphasis upon news of crime, human conflict, 
tragedies and violence of all kinds. How do you feel about this 
sort of criticism? 

7. Do you feel people in the viewing/ reading audience are 
more likely or less likely to pay attention to news items when 
there is an element of violence or tragedy of some kind in the 
theme? Why? 

8. When one guy skyjacked a jet. a hundred followed: when 
one kid shot up a high school in Brampton, another followed 
suit in Ottawa. A lot of people are saying that bizarre stories of 
violence bring the dangerous kooks out of the woodwork, and 
that such stories should at least be played in a minor key. How 
do you deal with this one as a news person? 

9. Some sociologists are telling us that many people have 
distorted views about modern society, especially about the 
crime and violence in our midst, and the media are being 
blamed. We are told there are too many little old ladies with a 
pathological fear of being mugged; too many young women 
terrified of meeting a rapist in the underground garage. How 
do you answer this challenge? 

10. There is continuing controversy among news people as to 
whether the public is best served bv traditional objective 
reporting of events, or by the more subjective "advocacy" style 
that attempts to interpret and explain. What are your views? 

11. Is your news organization in competition on a day-to-day 
basis with any other news organizations? Which ones? 

12. Is the competitive factor something that affects the 
treatment of news? How? 

13. You see U.S. wire copy, probably read a few U.S. papers 
and watch .\merican newscasts from time to time. Do the 
Americans handle news ditTercntly from Canadians? Do you 



14. It is pretty well uniformly recognized in the news business 
that It is in "poor taste" to mention in a story, say, the name of 
a rape victim. Apart from the well-known legal restraints, are 
there any other "taboos" written or unwritten but commonly 
agreed upon, against printing or broadcasting certain types of 
information? 

15. Understanding that "freedom of the press" nowadays is 
extended to include the electronic as well as the print media, 
what does the concept of "freedom of the press" mean to you? 

16. Assuming the validity of the concept that every freedom 
has its responsibilities, what are the important responsibilities 
of free media? Do the media live up to them? 

17. WTien members of the public feel that your medium has 
behaved, intentionally or unintentionally, in a less than 
responsible fashion, how can they make their concern known 
to those people responsible? 

18. How do you feel about these methods of public redress? 

Are they adequate or inadequate? 

19. Doctors and lawyers function professionally in Ontario 
under legislation that requires them to belong to professional 
organizations. These bodies have statutory authority and 
responsibility to criticize, censure, and even exclude from 
practice, any member of the profession whose behaviour is 
judged inadequate. How would you feel about similar 
legislation to regulate the behaviour of news people? 

20. What's your opinion of press councils? 

21. How would you feel if press councils in Ontario had 
authority, perhaps legislated authority, to enforce their 
decisions? 

22. The CRTC, operating under federal authority, exercises a 
measure of quality control over the content of the broadcast 
media. Do you approve or disapprove of this? What would be 
the consequences of extending this regulatory authority to 
cover print media as well? 

23. Is your salary a reasonable one for the sort of work you do? 

24. Looking outside the news business for a moment, what are 
two other occupations roughly equal to your own in terms of 
their importance to society? 

25. What do you think is the general public's idea of the nature 
of a news person's work, and his role in society? How fair and 
accurate is this view? 

26. .<\re newspapers and television stations primarily 
businesses, or public service organizations? How do you think 
your publisher station owner would respond to this question? 

27. .Advertising is the bread and butter of Ihe news business. 
Do you feel the advertisers who buy time space have any 
obvious or subtle influence on the operation of your 
newsroom? 

28. Canadian news media are big businesses, and apparently 
getting bigger, if the growth of chains and other sorts of 
corporate tie-ins are anv indication. How is all this affecting 
the actual business of gathering and processing news in this 
country? 

29. Quite apart from your salary and any benefits you receive 
personally in your employment, how do you feel about the 
level of support resources and facilities your employer provides 
to assist you in your work? 



33 



30. Do you think most people working in your newsroom are 
happy or unhappy? Why? 

31. What opinions do you have as to the best way to train or 
educate young people for work in a modern newsroom? 

32. If you were the pubhsher/station owner, what changes 
would you make in the operation of your newsroom? 



Notes 

1. The following information will be recorded with each 
interview, but will be held in strictest confidence, and used 
only for statistical and verification purposes. 

a) the subject's name and title. 

b) the name of the subject's employer. 

c) the age and sex of the subject. 

2. All interviews will be tape-recorded, and later transcribed 
verbatim. 

3. Prior to each interview session, the subject will be given 
these assurances and instructions: 

a) the subject will be assured that his anonymity will be 
protected. 

b) the subject will be assured that the information he or she 
gives will be used for scholarly purposes only, and that his or 
her anonymity will be protected in any report of the research in 
academic journals or other publications. 

c) the subject will be asked to answer each question succinctly, 
but will be invited to expand if he or she wishes. The 
interviewer may from time to time ask supplementary 
questions. 

d) the subject will be invited to select his or her own place and. 
when convenient, time, for the interview. 

e) if the subject asks about the nature of the research, he or she 
will be told m most general terms that the interviews are part of 
a research project examining the role of news personnel and 
the media in society. It will be explained that the giving of 
further information might compromise the validity of the 
research. 



34 



Appendix B 

Table: Best News Stories Identified 
By Interview Subjects 

Statistical Summary: Responses to Question One 
The question: What are the two or three biggest news 
stories, local, national or international, which your 
newsroom has handled in the past six months or so? 

Total Responses: 83 

(Four individuals were able to offer fewer than the 
requested three examples.) 

Stories with local themes 26 

Stories with non-local themes 57 

Stories with violent primary or violent prominent 
secondary iheme(s) 45 

Stories with no violence content 38 

Individual stories, and closely-linked groups of stories, 
most often mentioned: 

Single Stories: 

Labour protest against anii-inflation program 

16 mentions 

Israeli raid on Entebbe airport 7 mentions 

The 1976 Olympic Games 5 mentions 

Prominent Linked Groups: 

(Stories mentioned immediately above are excluded 
from these statistics.) 

All federal political stones 9 mentions 

Ail Ontario political stories 4 mentions 

Natural disasters (earthquakes, epidemics, volcanic 
eruptions, et cetera, in 1976). 5 mentions 

All local violent crime and accident stories 15 mentions 



35 



Appendix C 

Some Examples of 
Journalistic Codes of Ethics 



Example #1: 

The Code of the 

American Society of Newspaper Editors 

The Primary Function of newspapers is to communicate 
to the human race what its members do, feel, and thmk. 
Journalism, therefore, demands of its practitioners the 
widest range of inteihgence. or knowledge, and of 
experience, as well as natural and trained powers of 
observation and reasoning. To its opportunities as a 
chronicle are indissolubly linked its obligations as 
teacher and interpreter. 

To the end of finding some means of codifying sound 
practice and just aspirations of American journalism, 
these canons are set forth: 

I. Responsibility 

The right of a newspaper to attract and hold readers is 
restricted by nothing but considerations of public 
welfare. The use a newspaper makes of the share of 
public attention it gains serves to determine its sense of 
responsibility, which it shares with everv member of its 
staff. A journalist who uses his power for any selfish or 
otherwise unworthy purpose is faithless to a high trust. 

II. Freedom of the Press 

Freedom of the press is to be guarded as a vital right of 
mankind. It is the unquestionable right to discuss 
whatever is not explicitly forbidden by law, including 
the wisdom of any restrictive statute. 

III. Independence 

Freedom from all obligations except that of fidelity to 
the public trust is vital. 

1. Promotion of any private interest contrarv to the 
general welfare, for whatever reason, is not compatible 
with honest journalism. So-called news communications 
from private sources should not be published without 
public notice to their source or else substantiation of 
their claims to value as news, both in form and 
substance. 

2. Partisanship, in editorial comment which 
knowingly departs from the truth, does violence to the 
spirit of American journalism: in the news columns, it is 
subversive of a fundamental principle of the profession. 

IV. Sincerity, Truthfulness and Accuracy 

Good faith with the reader is the foundation of all 
journalism worthy of the name. 

1. By every consideration of good faith a newspaper is 
constrained to be truthful. It is not to be excused for 



lack of thoroughness or accuracy within its control, or 
failure to obtain command of these essential qualities. 

2. Headlines should be fully warranted by the 
contents of the articles which they surmount. 

V. Impartiality 

Sound practice makes clear distinction between news 
reporting and expressions of opinion. News reports 
should be free from opinion or bias of any kind. 

I. This rule does not apply to so-called special articles 
unmistakedly devoted to advocacy or characterized by 
a signature authorizing the writer's own conclusions and 
interpretations. 

VL Fair Play 

A newspaper should not publish unofficial charges 
affecting reputation or moral character without oppor- 
tunity given to the accused to be heard: right practice 
demands the giving of such opportunity in all cases of 
serious accusation outside judicial proceedings. 

1. A newspaper should not invade private rights or 
feelings without some warrant of public right as distin- 
guished from public curiosity. 

2. It IS the pnvilege. as it is the dutv. of a newspaper 
to make prompt and complete correction of its own 
serious mistakes of fact or opinion, whatever their 
origin. 

VII. Decency 

A newspaper cannot escape conviction of insincerity if 
while professing high moral purpose it supplies incen- 
tives to base conduct, such as are to be found in the 
details of crime and vice, publication of which is not 
demonstrably for the public good. Lacking authority to 
enforce its canons, the journalists here represented can 
but express the hope that deliberate pandering to 
vicious instincts will encounter effective public disap- 
proval or yield the influence to a preponderant profes- 
sional condemnation. 

Example #2: 

The following is an excerpt pertaining to televised news 
presentation from the Television Code of the National 
Association of Broadcasters. 

V. Treatment of News and Public Events 

News 

1. .\ television station's news schedule should be adequate and 

well-balanced. 

2. News reporting should be factual, fair, and without bias. 

3. A television broadcaster should exercise particular 
discrimination in the acceptance, placement, and presentation 
of advertising in news programs so that such advertising should 
be clearly distinguishable from the news content. 

4. At all times, pictorial and verbal material for news and 
comment should conform to other sections of these standards, 
wherever such sections are reasonably applicable. 



36 



5. Good taste should prevail in the selection and handling of 
news. Morbid, sensational, or alarming details not essential to 
the factual report, especially in connection with stories of 
crime or sex. should be avoided. News should be telecast in 
such a manner as to avoid panic and unnecessary alarm. 

6. Commentary and analysis should be clearly identified as 
such. 

7. Pictorial material should be chosen with care and not 
presented in a misleading manner. 

8. All news interview programs should be governed by 
accepted standards of ethical journalism, under which the 
interviewer selects the questions to be asked. Where there is 
advance agreement materially restricting an important or 
newsworthy area of questioning, the interviewer will state on 
the program that such limitations have been agreed upon. Such 
disclosure should be made if the person being interviewed 
requires that questions be submitted in advance or if he 
participates in editing a recording of the interview prior to its 
use on the air. 

9. A television broadcaster should exercise due care in his 
supervision of content, format, and presentation of newscasts 
originated by his station, and in his selection of newscasters, 
commentators, and analysts. 



37 



Appendix D 

A Selected and Annotated 

Bibliography 

Ethics in Journalism 

Adams. Anthony A. "Broadcasters' Attitudes towards Public 
Responsibility, An Ohio Case Study" Columbia Journalism 
Review, vol. 16(4). Fall 1972, pp. 407-420. 

Adams found clear differences in the patterns of opinions 
among broadcasters surveyed regarding broadcast 
responsibility to the public, freedom of the press and the 
role of the FCC 

Anderson. James A. "The Alliance of Broadcast Stations and 
Newspapers: The Problem of Information Control" yourna/ 
of Broadcasiing. vol. 16(1). Winter 1971-2. pp. 51-64. 

The suggestion that patterns of multi-media ownership 
result m both anti-competitive practices and the potential 
for regressive information control was not found to be valid 
in .Anderson's study - newspaper allied stations performed 
better generally. 

Bernstein. Carl and Bob Woodward. All the President's Men. 
New York: Simon and Schuster. 1974. 

An excellent study of conflict in the reconciliation of truth 
and ethics as written by the two Washingion Post reporters 
who broke the Watergate case. 

Commission on Freedom of the Press. A Free and Responsible 
Press Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1947. 

A landmark, controversial document still treated by current 
critiques of press standards and principles. 

Cuyler. Lewis C. "Ethics of Investigative Reporting 
Questioned." Editor and Publisher. September 13. 1975. 
p. 10. 

Twenty-five Massachusetts journalists answer questions 
about investigative reporting of crime and corruption. They 
attempt to justify their actions and decisions. 

Davis. Staff' and Witt Schultz. "Riot Coverage: Cool It?" Quill. 
vol. 55(10), Oct. 1968, pp. 16-20. 

Discusses "codes" between police and the press to play 
down racial unrest. 

Dimmick. John. "The Belief Systems of War Correspondents: 
A Bayesian /\na\\ sis" Journalism Quarterly, vol. 5(K3), 
Autumn. 1973. pp. 560-562. 

From a content analysis of World War II correspondents' 
memoirs. Dimmick finds that role stress is compensated for 
by concurrent beliefs in civilian involvement in war and the 
necessity of censorship. 

Evans. Harold M. "Is the Press Too Powerful?" Columbia 
Journalism Review, vol. 10(5), Jan/Feb. 1972. pp. 8-16. 

Evans proposes press performance centers to stimulate 
public debate on freedom of access to knowledge: guarded 
versus manipulated. He rejects notions of press control as 
only a free press can be a guardian of freedom. 

Hulteng, John L. The Messenger's Motives: Ethical Problems of 
the News Media. Englewood CliflTs. N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1976, 

A survey approach to the role of the news media in 



democratic society with attention to unethical behaviour, 
good taste, gatekeeping, source attribution .... 

Janowitz. M. "Professional Models in Journalism - Gatekeeper 
and Advocate" yoH/-«(7//.sm Quarterly, vol. 52(4), 1975, 
p. 618-ff'. 

The conflict between the roles of gatekeeper and advocate 
may impede professionalization. Clear difl'erentiation of the 
roles will help both groups. 

Kriss, R. "The National News Council at Age One" Columbia 
Journalism Review, Nov. 1974, pp. 31-38. 

Kriss lauds the survival of the U.S. national news council, 
notes the criticism which has been levied against it in the 
past year, and concludes that the council could be 
considered insurance against press control as well as for 
satisfactory press performance. 

LeRoy. David J. "Levels of Professionalism in a Sample of 
Television Nev,smen" Journal of Broadcasiing. Winter, 1972- 
73, pp. 51-62. 

Mann, Russ. "Using Juvenile Ofl''enders' Names Cuts Crime in 
Lompoc, Calif," Quill 550). July 1967, p. 38. 

Publishing the names of juveniles convicted by the court did 
reduce the incidence of juvenile crime in Lompoc, 
California. 

Markham, James et al. "Journalism Educators and the Press 
Council Idea: A Symposium" yournafam Quarterly. Vol. 45, 
No. l.Spnng 1968, pp. 77-85. 

The role of the aej in serving as a "watch-dog" for the mass 
media is analyzed at the 1967 aej convention. 

Merrill. John C. and Ralph D. Barney (eds.). Ethics and the 
Press: Readings in Mass Media Morality. New York: 
Hastings House, 1975, 338 pp. 

A collection of 35 articles ranging from broad ethical 
consideration to specific ethical dilemmas encountered by 
journalists today. 

Merrill, John C. The Imperative of Freedom: A Philosophy of 

Journalistic Autonomy. New York: Hastings House, 1974. 

A re-statement of a "pure" libertarian press system which 
suggests an absolute journalistic autonomy and a standard 
of voluntary press responsibililv. 

Meyer, Philip E. "A Newspaper's Role Between the Riots", 
Nieman Reports 22(2), June 1968, pp. 3-8. 

A good newspaper does not merely exploit the 
sensationalism of civil disturbance, it discus-ses. analyzes, 
dissects the problem to find out what is there in the hope of 
fostering workable solutions. 

Phillips, David Graham. The Treason of the Senate. Chicago: 
Quadrangle, 1964. 256 pp. (Edited by George E. Mourey 
and Judson A. Grenier.) 

One of the most famous of the muckraking works (often 
regarded as the most sensational). Nine articles are 
reprinted from Cosmopolitan (February to November 1906) 
with a 40 page introduction by the editors. 

Rivers. William L. and Wilbur Schramm. Responsibility in 
Mass Communication. 2nd ed. New York: Harper and Row. 
1969. 

A classic which includes sections on the impact of mass 
communications, truth and fairness, minorities and the 



38 



Smith. F.L. and D.J. Leroy. "Perceived Ethicality of Some TV 
News Production Techniques by a Sample of Florida 
Legislators," Speech Monographs, vol. 40(4). 1973. p. 326. 

The suggestion is made that future controversies between 
press and politician could be avoided if electronic journalists 
articulate and critically examme their production behaviour. 

Starck. Kenneth. "Producer/Consumer Perceptions of the 
Function of the Daily Newspaper", Journalism Quarterly, 
Vol. 51. Winter 1974. pp. 670-676. 

Three types emerged from this attempt at an empirical 
definition of the newspaper's role. Type I - stres.sed social 
responsibilities of the press, advocated outside controls. 
Type II - (all newspaper policy makers appeared in this 
category) strongly opposed regulation and favoured an 
active press role. Type 1 1 1 favoured a passive stance toward 
government and preferred a newspaper which served as a 
meeting ground of ideas and information for all segments of 
society. 

Tuchman. Gaye. "Objectivity as Strategic Ritual: An 
Examination of Newsmen's Notions of Objectivity". 
American Journal of Sociology. January 1972, pp. 660-679. 

Tuchman argues that newsmen's careful attention to both 
sides in a controversy via quotations and scrupulous 
consideration of "who/what/where when" before treating 
"why", is basically a ploy to protect themselves from 
criticism rather than a means of ensuring unbiased stories. 

Weinthal, D. and G. O'Keefe. "Professionalism Among 

Broadcast Ncv^smcn". Journal of Broadcasting. Spring 1974, 
pp. 193-209. 

Wilcox, Walter. "The Staged News Photograph and 

Professional Ethics", yoMr^afam Quarterly. Autumn, 1961. 

Williamson, Lenora. "Ethics Code Adopted by Editorial 
Writers", Editor and Publisher. Oct. 25, 1975, p. 17. 

The National Conference of Editorial Writers adopts a new 
basic statement of principles, which includes non- 
acceptance of "gifts of value, free travel and other favors 
that can compromise integrity, or appear to do so." 

News: Definitions and Treatment 

Altschull, J. Herbert. "What is News?" Mass Communications 
Review, vol. 2, No. I, Dec. 1974, pp. 17-23. 

Altschull presses for objectivity in news reporting, claiming 
that fairness and accuracy are not substitutes. 

Anderscm, John. "Chicago Murders: A Little Progress", 
Columbia Journalism Review 5(2), pp. 30-32. 

Ncw.spaper coverage of the Richard Speck ca.se of mass 
murder of eight Chicago nurses was restrained, proving that 
it IS po.ssible to cover sensational news in a civilized manner. 

Arlen, Michael J. "The Road from Highway One", Columbia 
Journalism Review. July-August 1975, pp. 22-6. 

Television coverage of the Vietnam War focused primarily 
on combat footage and obscured the "reality" of the 
situation. 

Bagdikian, Ben H. "The Gentle Suppression", Columbia 
Journalism Review, vol 4(1), Spring 1965, pp. 16-19. 

The three Washington newspapers have formed an informal 

conspiracy to plav down news of the American Nazis in the 
nation's capital. 

Bagdikian. Ben H. "Shaping Media Content: Professional 



Personnel and Organizational Structure", Public Opinion 
Quarterly. Vol. 37(4), 1973-74, pp. 569-579. 

Bagdikian is optimistic about increasing competence in 
media research and "we new journalists" who will 
understand and .sympathize with research into the dynamics, 
structures and control of news and public information. 

Bailey, George A. "Rough Justice on a Saigon Street: A 

Gatekeeper Study of nbc's Tet Execution Film", Journalism 
Quarterly, vol. 49(2), Summer 1972, pp. 221-238. 

An analysis of the filming, telecasting, and audience 
reaction of General Loan's famed shot. 

Beebe, George. "Is the Big Murder Trial Passe?" ASNE 
Bulletin 496, p. I tf. April I, 1966. 

An AP survey shows that the press generally downplayed the 
Mossier murder trial held in Miami. UPI made similar 
findings. 

Bigman, Stanley K. "Rivals in Conformity: A Study of Two 
Competing Dailies", youraafam Quarterly. June 1948, 
pp. 130-131. 

Bogart, Leo. "Changing News Interests and the News Media". 
Public Opinion Quarterly, vol. 32(4). Winter 1968-69. 

pp. 560-574. 

From a national survey of the public's and editor's news 
preferences, Bogart discovers that the public generally 
prefers newspapers but likes television for top news stones 
of the day. The highest interest .scores for any subject went 
to stories related to health and variance on individual stories 
was high. Editors were only moderately successful in 
gauging public preferences. 
Bradley. Duane. The Newspaper - Its Place in a Democracy . 
Princeton. J.J.: Van Nostrand. 1965, 1 13 pp. 
A discussion of newspapers and freedom of the press. 

Breed. Warren. "Social Control in the News Room: A 
Functional Analysis", Social Forces, vol. 33, No. 4, 1955, 
pp. 326-327. 

A classic analysis of the processes and persons determining 
the content of news through institutional control. 

Bruno. Hall. "After Chicago: Mvths to Dispose of. Quill, 
vol. 56(12). Dec. 1968. p. 8. 

If newspeople are intimidated by the opinion of a public 
that doesn't like to be told unpleasant facts of life, they 
abdicate their responsibilities. 

Cohen, Shari. "A Comparison of Crime Coverage in Detroit 
and Atlanta Newspapers". Journalism Quarterly, vol. 52. 
Winter 1975, pp. 726-780. 

Detroit papers were found to contain more than twice as 
much crime coverage during a period of study (Sept. - Oct. 
1974). but Detroit had more than four times as much crime. 
Atlanta papers were more likely to give prominent coverage 
to crime, but Detroit employed more banner headlines and 
gory details to attract attention to crime stories. 

Cohen. Stanley and Jack Young. The Manufacture of News. 
Beverly Hills: Sage Publications Inc., 1973. 
Essays on the way social problems are presented in the 
media, and the view of societv held by those who control the 
media. 

Crespi. Irving. "How Hard-hat' is the Public on Crime?" 
Columbia Journalism Review. \o\. 14(3). Sept. Oct. 1975. pp. 

40-41. 



39 



Public demands law and order, but also prison, court 
reform. News media are "naively soft" on crime and 
neglectful of prison reform. 

DeMott, J. "Interpretive News Stories Compared With Spot 
Nev/s". Journalism Quarterly, vol. 50(1), 1973, p. 102. 

Discriminant function analysis shows that interpretive 
stories have more opinion, are longer, and more likely to 
deal with social problems. 

Diamond, Edwin. " 'Reporter Power" Takes Root", Columbia 
Journalism Review, 9(2), Summer 1970, pp. 12-18. 

The democratic revolution in reportage is affecting both 
electronic and print media. 

Dominick, Joseph R. "Television Journalism vs. Show 
Business: A Content Analysis of Eyewitness News", 
Journalism Quarterly vol. 52, Summer 1975, pp. 213-218. 

"Eyewitness News" format emphasizes violence, human 
interest, and comic material in any effort to gain larger 
ratings, a procedure which may not be in the public interest. 

Donohew, Lewis. "Newspaper Gatekeepers and Forces in the 
News Channel", Puhhc Opinion Quarterly, vol 31(1), pp. 61- 
68, Spring 1967. 

Donohew studies afternoon Kentucky papers and their 
treatment of the Medicare issue and discovered that 
publisher attitudes were an important force in the news 
channel, that community conditions were not related to 
coverage, and that perceived public opinion did not alter 
gatekeeping behaviour. 

Epstein. Edward J. News from Nowhere: Television and the 
News. New York; Random House, 1973. 

Epstein examines the values and processes which shape the 
selection of news. 

Fedler, Fred. "The Media and Minority Groups: A Study of 
Adequacy of Access", yoKTOutom Quarterly, vol. 50, No. 1, 
Spring 1973, pp. 109-117. 

A study of Minneapolis media finds that minority groups 
receive more not less publicity than comparable established 
groups. Minority groups, though pictured more often than 
established groups, were often shown involved in 
demonstrations on violence. 

Gold, D. and J. L. Simmons "News Selection Patterns Among 
Iowa Dailies", Public Opinion Quarterly, vol. 29(3), 1965, 
pp. 425-430. 

The e.\tent of wire copy used by 24 mostly small dailies does 
not atTect which news stories are emphasized. Papers studied 
differed little from each other or from ap in wire stories 
stressed, indicating an "uncritical acceptance" of ap news 
patterns. 

"Goodbye to Gore", Time, February 21, 1972, pp. 64-65. 

The National Enquirer banishes cannibalism, sadism, sick 
sex in favour of upbeat success stories, celebrity gossip, the 
occult, and the quasi-scientific, in hopes of increasing 
circulation. 

Gould, Stanhope. "Coors Brews The News", Columbia 
Journalism Review, vol. 13(6). Mar./Apr. 1975, pp. 17-29. 

A study of a pattern of ideological pressure by management 
of Television News, Inc., dismissal of journalists who 
disagreed with policy, and an admittance that both sides of 
the story are told at tvn. 

Graham, Gene. "History In the (Deliberate) Making: A 



Challenge to Modern Journalism", Nieman Reports, 
vol. 20 (3), Sept. 1966, pp. 3-7. 

The attention of 300 million people can be captured by a 
few utilizing mass media in such contrived incidents as the 
civil demonstration planned only for the television cameras. 

Gross, Gerald (ed.). The Responsibility of the Pre.'^s. New York: 
Fleet, 1966,416 pp. 

Thirty-one men in communcations discuss press 
responsibility. 

Hallow, Ralph Z. "Pittsburgh's Ephemeral Riot", Columbia 
Journalism Review, vol 10(5), pp. 34-40. 

As a result of too few local reporters covering the World 
Series victory celebration in Pittsburgh Sunday, Oct. 17, 
1971, wire service reports went unverified and a sensational 
hype by the news service caused the day to be immortalized 
as a drunken orgy of rape and looting, a description later 
proved invalid by pohce and local journalists. 

Harney, Russell F. and Vernon A. Stone. "Television and 
Newspaper Front Page Coverage of a Major News Story", 
Journal of Broadcasting, vo\. 13(2). Spring 1969, pp. 181-8. 

Haskins, Jack B. " 'Cloud with a Silver Lining' Approach to 
Violence News", Journalism Quarterly, vol. 50(3), Autumn 
1973, pp. 549-52. 

Haskins, Jack B. "Readers" vs. Editors' Reaction of Violence". 
Editor and Publisher, vol. 101(49). Dec. 7, 1968, p. 44. 

Readers are more interested than editors think in remote, 
impersonal, large-scale reports of violent death. They are 
less interested in personal, close-by, small-scale, violent 
deaths involving families and children. 

Healey. G. "Individual's Personal Safety Protected by News 
Guidelines", Editor and Publisher. July 20, 1974, p. 30. 

Following the kidnapping of a reporter's wife, the managing 
editor of the Minneapolis Tribune laid down policy 
guidelines regarding news coverage. He stressed the need to 
get the news swiftly, fullv, and responsibly, not at the 
expense of human life. 

Hoskins, R.L. "Readability Study of ap and UPl Wire Copy'", 
Journalism Quarterly, vol. 50(2), p. 360. 

Hoskins concludes that both U.S. national news agencies 
could make significant improvements in the readability of 
their news stones. 

"How Influential is TV News?" Columbia Journalism Revie^v. 
vol 9(2), Summer 1970. pp. 19-29. 

The International Broadcast Institute panel discusses media 
dislocation, audience selective perception of news, violence, 
and the possibility that a misinformed public may impose 
stringent press controls. 

Hunt. Todd. "Beyond the Journalistic Event: The Changing 
Concept of News". Mass Communications Review, vol. I. 
No. 2. April 1974. pp. 23-28. 

Hunt pleads for journalists to move beyond event-centred 
reporting into an on-going examination of the processes of 
human behaviour. 

Jones. Harold Y. "Filling Up the White Space". Columbia 
Journalism Review, vol. I4( 1), May/June 1975, pp. 10-1 1. 

As news director of the Expo '74 World's Fair in Spokane 
Washington, Jones found that smaller newspapers were 
willing to dispense w ith writers and reporters and print 
"canned copy" to fill the spaces between advertisements. 



40 



Justice, Blair. "The News Value of Conflict". Quill, vol. 53(4). 
April 1965. 

A science writer questions the "curious dichotomy" evident 
in news play; editors assume that death and disaster rate top 
billings because readers are interested, but the same editors 
acknowledge thai other news interests ihem much more than 
conflict items. 

"Killing Crime Stories does not Pay off", iafa News, 
Feb./Mar. 1974, p. 4. 

Media in Webster City. Iowa voluntarily suppressed stories 
dealing with vandalism for 90 days, resulting in 36.5 per cent 
increase in vandalism. 

Knopf. Terry Ann. "Sniping - a New Pattern of Violence?" 
Trans-Aclion, vol. 6(9), pp 22-29. Summer 1970. 

The public and officials misunderstand sniping because of 
press distortion. 

Kroeger. Albert S. "Vietnam: Television's Crudest Test", 
Television, vol. 23(5). May. 1966. pp. 24-27. 

Television news coverage from Vietnam was escalating and 
there was continuing debate about whether the close-up of 
the war would be to the public's liking. 

Kueneman. Rodney M. "News Policies of Broadcast Stations 
for Civil Disturbances and Disasters". Journalism Quarterly. 
vol. 52. Winter 1975. pp. 670-677. ' • 

This survey found that stations fear public panic and have 
special policies to withhold information and/or check 
reports more strictly in the event of natural disasters, and 
especially with regard to civil disturbances (noting, looting, 
etc.). 

Mark, Sir Robert. "Kidnapping. Terrorism and the Media". 
Nieman Reports, vol 30. Spring 1976. No. 1. pp. 15-18. 

Mark presses for co-operation between police and media to 
avoid excessive exploitation of crimes: kidnapping. 
terrorism. 

Meyer. John C. "Newspaper Reporting of Crime and Justice: 
Analysis of an Assumed Difference", Journalism Quarterly, 
vol. 52. Winter 1975, pp. 731-734. 

Comparison of the crime coverage by The New York Times 
and Daily News found the Times with a greater volume of 
coverage but no other difference. 

Morris, Monica B. "Newspapers and the New Feminist: 
Black-Out as Social Control?" Journalism Quarterly, vol. 50, 
No. I, Spring 1973, pp. 37-42. 

Sparse coverage of feminist movements by papers in 
England and Los Angeles suggests a black-out may have 
been in eff'ect. 

"News or Non-news", Editor and Publisher. Nov. 9, 1974, p. 6. 

Citing the case of the Ali-Foreman fight, the complaint is 
made that news may become a packaged product for private 
audiences and barred from general airing - rights may soon 
be sold to all newsworthy events. 

Nixon. Raymond B. and Robert L. Jones. "The Content of 
Non-competitive vs. Competitive Newspapers", Journalism 
Quarterly. Summer 1956. 

Payne. David E. and Kaye Price Payne. "Newspaper and 
Crime in Detroit". Journalism Quarterly, vol. 47(4). 1970. pp. 
233-238, 308. 

This study, which examines crime rate change in Detroit 



during two newspaper strikes, found that non-expressive 
crimes decreased significantly during the absence of daily 
papers. 

Payne, David E. "Newspapers and Crime: What Happens 
During Strike Penods?" Journalism Quarterly, vol. 51. 
Winter 1974, pp. 607-612. 

Analysis of crime statistics during newspaper strikes in 
several North Amencan cities indicated no concrete 
evidence of a strong, consistent relationship between 
newspaper publication and crime rates. 

Pool. Ithiel de Sola and Irwin Schulman. "Newsmen's 
Fantasies. Audiences, and Newswriting", Public Opinion 
Quarterly, vol. 23(2), 1959, pp. 145-158. 

Employing "imaginar)' interlocutors" who figured in 
journalist.s' minds while they wrote their stories. Pool and 
Schulman discovered that the accuracy of reporting was low 
on good news and bad news alike when the news was 
incongruent with the reporters" fantasies. 

Pride. Richard A. and Daniel H. Clarke. "Race Relations in 
Television News: A Content Analysis of the Networks". 
Journalism Quarterly, vol. 50(2). Summer 1973. pp. 319-328. 

This study shows that the three U.S. networks did not 
operate uniformly in racial coverage from 1968 to 1970. NBC 
put more emphasis on the race issue than did the other two 
networks. 

"Profit Motivates Television News. Professor Finds", 
Broadcasting. Jan. 22. 1973. p. 32. 

The richer and more profitable a television station or 
network is, the more - and more controversial - news and 
public affairs programming it is likely to present and the 
more likely it is to editorialize. Marginally profitable stations 
cannot afford to present such programs, especially 
documentaries, and will stay away from controversy to 
avoid offense to sponsors. 

Rarick, Galen and Barrie Hartman. "The Effects of 
Competition on One Daily Newspaper's Content", 
Journalism Quarterly. Autumn 1966, vol. 43(3). pp. 459-468. 

Analysis of a single newspaper in periods of no. moderate, 
and intense competition shows that as competitive pressures 
increase, the choice of local and immediate reward items 
increases, as predicted. 
"Reporting Conflict in An Age of Change", Columbia 
Journalism Re\iew 9(1). Spring 1970, pp. 24-25. 
Recommendations of the National Commission on the 
Causes and Prevention of Violence regarding the marketing 
of information about violent events. 

Russo, Frank D. "A study of bias in TV coverage of the 

Vietnam War: 1969 and 1970", Public Opinion Quarterly. 

vol. 35(4), Winter 1972. pp. 539-43. 

Russo notes that what may appear as bias may be a 

revulsion against content. 
Ryan, M. "News Content. Geographical Origin and Perceived 

Media Credibilitv". Journalism Quarterly, vol. 50(2), 1973, 

p. 312. 

This factorial study finds that newspapers are believed more 

than television in some areas, e.g. state public affairs and 

science; television is more believed in other areas, e.g. in 

news of student protest. 
Sasser, Emerv L. and John T. Russell. "The Fallacy of News 



41 



Judgmenl", Journalism Quarterly, vol. 49(2), Summer 1972. 
pp. 280-284. 

A lack of consistency in emphasis and m use of similar 
stories leads to the conclusion that there is no such thing as 
news of the day important to the public, nor are there 
editors with background and traming to recognize what that 
news is. 

Schiltz. Timothy. "Perspective of Managmg Editors on 
Coverage of Foreign Policv News". Journalism Quarterly, 
vol. 50(4). Wmter 1973. pp'. 716-721. 

Newsmen feel that readership of foreign policv news is high 
and that newspapers have greater influence on policy than 
other mass media. 

Schwoebel, Jean. "The Miracle Le Monde Wrought" (the 
coming newsroom revolution: 1). Columbia Journalism' 
Review 9(2). Summer 1970. pp. 8-11. 

The diplomatic editor of Le Monde and architect of its staff- 
controlled management structure discusses the significance 
of "reporter power" in the U.S. 

Shafer. Bryon and Richard Larson. "Did n Create the 'Social 
Issue?" " Columbia Journalism Revien; vol. 1 1(3). Sept./Oct. 
1972. pp. 10-17. 

Shafer and Larson press for public education through 
television news, not public fright. They maintain that 
television could make Law and Order an issue of real local 
crime and real local disruption, rather than one of magnified 
disorder bootlegged in through the evening news. 

Sigal. Leon V. Reporters and Officials: The Organization and 
Politics of Newsmaking. Lexington. Mass.: D.C. Heath and 
Co., 1973. 221 p. 

Sigal concentrates on the interactions between persons in 
government and those of the press and the effects on 
governmental outcomes. 

Singer. Benjamin D. "Violence. Protest, and War in Television 
News: the U.S. and Canada Compared", Public Opinion 
Quarterly, vol. 34(4), Winter 1970-71, pp. 61 1-616. 

An analysis of CBC National .S'ews and CBS Evening News 
indicated that the American television news show exceeded 
the Canadian program in aggression items (on violence, 
protest, or war) for every one of the 2 1 consecutive days 
monitored, typically at a rate of two-to-one. 

Slater. John W. and Maxwell E. McCombs. "Some Aspects of 
Broadcast News Coverage and Riot Participation". Journal 
of Broadcasting, vol. 13(4). pp. 366-70. Fall 1970. 

This study indicates that self-imposed censorship may be 
ineffective, since would-be participants have access to other 
information. 

Small. William J. To Kilt a .Messenger: Television News and the 
Real World. New York: Hastings House. 1970. 

Small discusses the role of television in the news events it 
covers as a "harbinger of ill tidings" and public reaction to 
it. 

"Task Force Comments on the Press and Violence". Editor and 
Publisher, vol. 103(3). Jan. 17, 1970, p. 50. 

Advocates advance contacts with the police and community 
dissident groups and recommends close press contacts with 
proposed rumour clearance centres. 

"Television and Violence". Television Quarterly, vol. 8( 1 ), 
Winter 1968, pp. 30-81. 



FCC Commissioner Johnson says the use of stories of 
violence is a newsjudgment and is subject to professional 
responsibility. Comrmssioner Loevinger calls for an industry 
grievance committee. Others suggest that the skill of the 
journalist is judged by how well he tells disturbances "Uke 
they are." 

Trayes, Edward J. "News Feature Services by Circulation 
Group ISse". Journalism Quarterly. Spring 1972. 

After studying U.S. newspapers with circulations of 10,000 
and under to 500,000 and over, Trayes concludes that no 
newspaper can adequately inform its readers without use of 
the services supplying regional, national, and world 
coverage. 

"TV Journalism: More Meaning. Wider Range. Harder Work. 
Bigger Budgets". Broadcasting. Aug. 20. 1973. pp. 17-23. 

Aggressive "why" news coverage is "in": news programs 
offer expanding diversity as audiences become more 
selective and competition from independents increases. 

Weaver. David H. and L. E. Mullins. "Content and Format 
Charactenstics of Competing Daily Newspapers". 
Journalism Quarterly, vol. 52, Summer 1975, pp. 257-264. 

Leading and trailing papers (highest, lowest circulation 
newspapers respectively in the same city) were not found to 
be significantly different regarding average percentages of 
news hole space devoted to specific subjects, e.g. crime, vice: 
2.7 per cent (leading) 2.4 per cent (trailing). 

Whiteside, Thomas. "Corridor of Mirrors: The Television 
Editorial Process. Chicago." Columbia Journalism Review, 
7(4), Winter 1969, pp. i5-54. 

Whiteside discusses institutional determinants of content in 
the television newsroom. 

Williamson. Lenora. "Page 1 Fire Photos Draw Readers 
Protests", Editor and Publisher. Aug. 30, 1975, pp. 14-15. 

A sequence of dramatic photographs of falling victims of a 
Boston fire stirs reader protest and editorial explanation. 

Winsbury. Rex. "Snobbish, Cruel and Obsessed by Sex - Is 
Such a Press Necessary?" Campaign. May 19, 1970, p. 17. 

Wmsbury concludes that such papers as Britain's 
sensational News of the World dite "the pnce of democracy". 

Witcover, Jules. "Washington: the Workhorse Wire Services," 
Columbia Journalism Review. Summer 1969, vol. 8(2), pp. 9- 
15. 

The majority of American and Canadian newspapers 
depend on two major wire services for Washington news. 
More interpretive and more enterprise reporting is needed 
for them to carry their responsibility well. 

Press Personnel Issues 

Anson, Robert Sam. "Selling Out to Television: Confessions of 
a Print Man Turned Electronic", Television Quarterly, 
vol. 10(4), Summer 1973, pp. 40-43. 

Anson discussed the supposed differences between print and 
electronic journalists, quoting Timothv Crouse that all 
journalists are "shy egomaniacs". 

Bogart, Leo "The Management of Mass Media: An Agenda 
for Research", Public Opinion Quarterly, vol. 37, No, 4, 1973- 

74, pp. 580-589. 

Bogart suggests priority areas for empirical research on 
media management, e.g. inter-media competition: 



42 



government subsidies versus freedom from intervention; 
self-censorship of content to avoid external control; 
monopoly controls; public broadcasting and interference; 
economics of cable broadcasting .... 

Chang. Won H. "Characteristics and Self-Perceptions of 
Women's Page Editors", yourna/wm Quarierly. vol. 52(1). 
1975. pp. 61-65. 

This national survey shows that women do get lower pay 
than men in women's departments, but women do see 
opportunities of improvement of the situation. 

Duscha. Julius. "Why the Good Young Men Leave 
Newspapers", asne Bulletin 511. Sept. 1967. pp. 3-4. 

The problem: low pay and an "anti-intellectual atmosphere" 
in most city rooms and editor's offices. 

Epstein, Edward Jay. "The Values of Newsmen", Television 
Quarierly. vol. 10(2), Winter 1973. pp. 9-22. 

Epstein discusses the social psychology of news personnel. 

Erwin, Rav. "Employment Practices Hit by City Editor". 
Editor and Publisher, vol. 98 (27). July 3. 1965. p. 1 1. 

A city editor tells journalism teachers that "employment 
practices of newspapers are out of the stone age of personnel 
management." 

Fang. Irving E. and Frank W. Gewal. "A Survey of Salanes 
and Hiring Preferences in Television Nev/s". Journal of 
Broadcasting, vol. 15. No. 4. Fall 1971. pp. 421-433. 

From a U.S. national survey of UHF and vhf television 
stations. Fang and Gewal concluded that salary range is 
very wide (from less than $4,000 to more than $16,000 for 
starting salanes). Beginning in smaller cities affords the best 
opportunity of learning broadcast journalism, opportunities 
for women are widening, most news directors prefer 
journalism grads or experienced reporters who won't require 
training. 

Grey. David L. "Decision-Making by a Reporter Under 
Deadline Pressure". Journalism Quarierly, voL 43(3). 
Autumn 1966, pp. 419-428. 

Observations of a Supreme Court reporter yields a minute- 
by-minute diary and suggestions as to how a newsman 
evaluates and writes stories under a deadline. 

Johnstone, John W. C. "Organizational Constraints on 

Newswork", JourAia/wm Quarterly. 53(1), Spring 1976, pp. 5- 
13. 

A national American survey finds evidence that increasing 
centralization in news industry increases job dissatisfaction 
because of decrease in autonomy. 

Johnstone, John W. C, et al. "The Professional Values of 
American Newsmen". Public Opinion Quarierly. vol. 36(4), 
Winter 1972-1973. pp. 522-540. 

Johnstone et al discuss their research on a national U.S. 
sample of media personnel. Internal cleavages occurred 
regarding journalistic professionalism along lines of 
education, training, age and environment (urban versus 
rural). 

Kernan. Jerome B. and Leslie B. Heiman. "Information 
Distortion and Personalitv". Journalism Quarterly. 
vol. 49(4), pp. 698-701. 

A controlled experiment shows that neuroticism predicts 
information distortion where introversion-extraversion does 



not. The neurotic both over- and under-estimates 

quantitative information. 

Lynch. Mervin D. and Dan Kays. "Effects on Journalistic 
Performance of Creativity and Task Dispersion", your/iafam 
Quarterly, vol. 44(3). Autumn 1967. pp. 508-512. 

Creativity is associated with productivity and low lexical 
diversity and syntactic dispersion; all subjects showed 
superior performance when the writing tasks were widely 
dispersed in time. 
Markham. David. "The Dimensions of Source Credibility of 
Television Newscasters". Journal of Communicaiiorvi. 
vol. 18(1). March 1968. pp. 57-64. ' 
Study of audience perception of television newscasters 
indicates validity of message, showmanship and 
trustworthiness are major dimensions of credibility. 

McLeod, Jack M. and Searle E. Hawley. Jr. 

"Professionalization Among Newsmen", yournafam 
Quarterly, vol. 41(4). Autumn 1964. pp. 529-538. 

A method of indexing professional orientation among 
journalists is presented. Important distinctions emerged 
between editorial and non-editonal groups. Editorial staflf 
tended to generally emphasize responsibility and 
objectivity; non-editorial people mixed excitement into their 
evaluative judgments. 
Stanton. Barbara. "How Detroit's Newspapers Set the 

Blackout Record". Columbia Journalism Review. Vol. 3(4), 
Winter 1964. 

A Free Press reporter recounts the issues and 
miscalculations that left the country's fifth city without 
regular papers tor 134 davs in an election year. The chief 
issue: automation. 
Thrush. Robin. "Behind rv News; The Top Newscasters Talk 
Back About How Thev See Their Jobs". Family IVeekly. 
Feb. I. 1976. p. 4. 

Seven prominent newsmen offer opinions on censorship, 
gloom and bias in television news. 

Wilson. C. Edward. "WTiy Canadian Newsmen Leave TTieir 
Papers". Journalism Quarterly, vol. 43(4). Winter 1966. 
pp. 769-772. 

From a survey of Canadian newspaper journalists who had 
left the field, the general impression emerging from their 
answers was that insufficient pay was a major factor in their 
leaving but not the only one. Lack of personal satisfaction, 
interference of management in news handling, and a lack of 
opportunity for advancement also operated as major 
reasons for leaving daily journalism. 

Criticism Of The Press 

Altschull. J. H. "Journalist and Instant History - Example of 
the Jackal Syndrome". Journalism Quarterly, vol. 50(3), 
1973. p. 489. 

Citing reports of the U.S. 1960 election debates as decisive, 
and widespread stories of Black Panther murders as 
examples. .Altschull discusses "the jackal syndrome" - an 
adventurous reporter cites a "fact" which other members of 
the media then adopt as gospel and spread throughout the 
countrv. regardless of the "fact's" truth. 

Argyris. Chris. Behind the Front Page: Organizational Self- 
Renewal in a Meiropohtan Senspaper. San Francisco: 
Jossey-Bass Publishers. 1974. 



43 



After participant observation at a newspaper. Arg^xis 
purports that journalists are not the mythical samts that 
society sometimes considers them. 

Bagdikian. Ben. H. The Effete Conspiracy and Other Crimes by 
the Press. New York: Harper and Row, 1972. 

Bagdikian assesses the performance of the mass media to 
answer the charges levied by Spiro Agnew. 

Bagdikian. Ben H. "Fat Newspapers and Slim Coverage". 
Columbia Journalism Review. September/October. 1973. 
vol. 12(3). pp. 15-20. 

U.S. dailies are growing fatter, but 83 per cent of the pages 
added since 1950 are advertising, and much of the rest is 
"soft" news or puffery. Bagdikian foresees that the future 
video home-terminal news format will depend upon 
perceptive reportage and skilled analysis of events. 

Bagdikian. Ben H. "Newspapers: Learning (Too Slowly) to 
Adapt to TV". Columbia Journalism Review, 12(4), 
Nov./Dec. 73. pp. 44-51. 

A study of newspapers shows that most are not offering the 
analysis and interpretation needed to supplement live 
television coverage. 

Bagdikian. Ben H. "The Way It Was and the Way I Call 
Them". Columbia Journalism Review, vol. 5(3). Fall 1966, 
pp. 5-10. 

Bagdikian criticizes columnists, especially rightwingers. for 
their careless handling of facts. 

Barnett. William L. "Survey Shows Few Papers Are Using 
Ombudsmen". Journalism Quarterly, vol. 50( 1 ). Spring. 1973. 
pp. 153-156. 

It is apparent from this study that the reader-access function 
of ombudsmanship has achieved little status among the 
major daily papers in the U.S. 

Brown, R. "Accuracy. Fairness, Credibility". Editor and 
Publisher. April 27. 1974. p. 60. 

Reporting on results of the .\SNE and anpa annual meetings. 
Brown notes that "accuracy, fairness and credibility should 
be the theme for 1974." 

Brow n. R. "Criticism From Within". Editor and Publisher. 
Feb. 16. 1974, p. 44. 

The debate within the U.S. newspaper business is discussed 
regarding ciA-employed reporters and the overplaying of 
Watergate in the news. 

Chomsky: N. "Reporting IndoChina - News Media and 

Legitimation of Lies". Social Policy, vol. 4(2), 1973, pp. 4-19. 

Chomsky discusses publication and suppression of news for 
political convenience, claiming that little difference exists 
between Saigon censorship and the American model. 

Cirino. Robert Don't Blame the People: How the News .Media 
L'.^e Bias. Distortion and Censorship to Manipulate Public 
Opinion. New York: Vintage Books. 1971. 

From a content analysis of presentations by selected major 
news organizations, Cirino launches a harangue against 
middle-of-the-road establishment news media. 

"Crisis Coverage" Newsweek, vol. 70(18), Oct. 30. 1968. pp. 60- 
62. 

In the heat of competition, newspapermen are quick to 
blame television for inflaming riots both are covering, but all 



media should take the blame for inflaming passions and 
catapulting minor extremists into prominence. 

"Cut Out Carnival Coverage". Broadcasting, vol. 70(24). June 
13, 1966, p. 72. 

Following reversal by U.S. Supreme Court in the Sheppard 
murder case, broadcast newsmen can expect more stringent 
measures to control coverage of criminal trials. 

Daniels. Derek. "Challenge to J-Educators: Newsprint 
Shortage will Bring Fewer Pages. More 'Useful' News", 
Journalism Educator, vol. 29(3). Oct. 1974, pp. 3-6. 

Daniels views immediate utility of information as the crucial 
consideration for future newspapers as the supply of 
newsprint decreases in response to economic determinants. 

Diamond. Edwin. "Multiplying Media Voices". Columbia 
Journalism Re\iew. vol. 8(4). Winter. 1969-70. pp. 22-27. 

Diamond stresses the importance of the alternate press in 
greater access to and for readers. He advances five idea^ to 
further the achievement of media diversity. 

Emmet, Christopher. "The Media and the Assassinations", 

National Revie^y. vol. 20(26). July 30. 1968, pp. 749-9. 

The "Establishment press" should not have suppressed 
Sirhan's diary because its publication helped improve U.S. 
image in the world. Too much television coverage of 
mourning increased morbid and hysterical reactions. 

English. Earl. "Journalism's Public Responsibility is Greater 
than Formerly Believed" Journalism Educator, vol. 30(3). 
Oct. 1975. pp. 12-17. 

English presses for a consideration of General Semantics in 
journalism education as a framework of protection for 
themselves and the public against the penis of misused 
symbols. 

Epstein. Edward Jay. Between Fact and Fiction: The Problems 
of Journalism. New York: Vintage Books. 1975. 

Epstein tends to dismiss all daily journalism - from CBS news 
to The New York Times as useless or dangerous; he 
characterizes the press role in Watergate as a 'David and 
Goliath" myth, yet still manages to assess the value of 
American journalism favourably. 

Friendly. Fred. Due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control . . . 
New York: Random House. 1967. 

A biting critique of CBS news policy by a former news 
executive of that network. 

Geiger, Louis G. "Muckrakers - Then and Now". Journalism 
Quarterly, vol. 43(3). .Autumn 1966. pp. 469^76. 

Muckrakers set out to create a general climate of reform and 
personal responsibility. Their essential failure was as much 
due to limitations in their media and audience as in 
themselves. Today, reform and good works have been 
institutionalized negating the muckrakers optimistic for the 
personal involvement. 

Gerald, J. Edward. The Social Responsibility of the Press. 
Minneapolis: U. of Minnesota Press, 1963, 214 pp. 

A thoughtful examination of the press as a commercial and 
professional agency and of its relationship to other 
institutions within society. The author clearly suggests that 
the press does not live up to its responsibility. 

Goldenson. Leonard H. and Elmer W. Lower. "Some Other 
Views on Violence and the Proper Journalistic Function of 



44 



Television". Television Quarterly, vol. 8(1), Winter 1970. 
pp. 63-9. 

In reporting disturbances, broadcast news is criticized by 
Americans who are reluctant to accept bad news. 

Grubb, Donald R. "Media Will Dig for the 'Why,' Offer 
Exciting Opportunities in the \910's". Journalism Educator, 
vol. 25(1), 1970, pp. 11-12. 

Among other changes, Grubb foresees that sensational (eg. 
crime) news will yield to socially significant content in the 
1970s. 

Guenin, Zcna Beth. "Women's Pages in American 

Newspapers: Missing Out on Contemporary Content", 
Journalism Quarterly, vol. 52, No. 1, 1975, pp. 66-69, 75. 

The call of critics for story variety and a broadened 
audience appeal is not being met by traditional women's 
pages or by modern re-named sections. 

Haley, Sir William. "Where TV News Fails". Columbia 
Journalism Review, vol. 9( I ), Spring 1970, pp. 7-11. 

Television newsmen have become technology's captives. To 
escape they must go beyond showing "happenings" and 
reintroduce "sifting, reporting, and evaluating". 

Hausman, Linda Weiner. Criticism of the Press in U.S. 

Periodicals. 1900-1939: An .Annotated Bibliography. Austin, 
Texas: Association for Education in Journalism, 1967, 
49 pp. (Journalism Monographs, no. 4). 

Hohenberg, John. The News Media: .4 Journalist Looks at His 
Profession. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968. 

Topics include truth in the coverage of Vietnam, "herd" 
journalism, "junket" journalism, the credibility gap, and the 
news media's role in shaping public opinion. 

"How the Vise has Tightened on Broadcast Journalism". 
Broadcasting. Feb. 19, 1973. pp. 24, 26. 

The Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University Survey of 
Broadcast Journalism (1971-72) found newsmen caught in 
the battle between management-stockholder, politician- 
bureaucrat trying to keep their wealth, power, and 
selfrespect. They rejected the Nixon administration's 
deliberate attempts to discredit the press, claiming that 
newsmen were doing a generally perceptive job. 

Isaacs, Norman. "The Bumpy Road Ahead", Grassroots 
Editor. vo\. 11(9), May-June 1970. pp. 12-16. 

The public is angrv. partly because newspaper journalism is 
complacent and arrogant. 

Kelley, C. "Crime and the News Media", Editor and Publisher. 
June 15, 1974, p. 62. 

Clarence M. Kelley, Director of the fbi advocates restraint 
in publicizing such voguish crimes as skyjacking and 
kidnapping to help combat lawlessness. 

"Kennedy and King Murders Lead List", Editor and Publisher. 
vol. 101(52), Dec. 28, 1968, p. 32. 

At' members voted assassinations top news stories of 1968. 

Knopf, Terry Ann. "Media Myths on Violence". Columbia 
Journalism Review, vol. 9(1). Spring 1970, pp. 17-23. 

A study of media performance reveals improvements and a 
healthy willingness to experiment with new procedures. But 
certain shortcomings persist: no attempt is made to place 
violence in a social context, criminals arc stereotypically 
viewed to reinforce public myths . . , , 



Knopf. Terry Ann. "Sniping Incidents and the Role of the 
Press", Nieman Reports, vol. 23(2), June 1969, p. I, 25-29. 

Knopf suggests that the press has been constructing a 
scenario on armed uprisings and asks that the story line be 
dropped in favour of more restrained, judicious and 
accurate reporting, and more creative, background 
journalism. 

LeRoy, David J. Mass News: Practices. Controversies and 
Alternatives. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1973. 

Discussion of television news, newspapers, wireservices, and 
professionalism among journalists. 

Lindstrom, Carl E. The Fading American Newspaper, Garden 
City. N.Y.: Doubleday. 1960. 283 pp. 

A cogent, hard-hitting critique of the present-day newspaper 
by an experienced newspaperman. He cites the failure of 
publishers to meet challenges, to keep up with mechanical 
developments, and to move away from outmoded 
approaches in writing. 

Long. Howard. "The Press: Healer or Mortician?" Grassroots 
Editor, vol. 1 1(2). pp. 2-4. Mar.-Apr. 1970. 

A reluctance to embrace self-crUicism. and a trend toward 
concentration contribute to the media's problem. 

Lowry. Dennis T. "Gresham's Law and Network TV News 
Selection". Journal of Broadcasting, vol. 15(4), Fall 1971, pp. 
397-408. 

Contrary to Spiro Agnew's assertion, bad news does not 
drive out good news on network television evening 
newscasts (one third bad versus two thirds other). Bad news 
(war, crime, violence . . . ) is given insignificant p<isition 
preference and more visual emphasis than "other news". 
ABC carried significantly more bad news than res or NBC. 

Marsh. H.D. "How Journalism Teachers View Media News 
Performance", yourna/iim Quarterly, vol. 50(1). 1973, 
pp. 156-158. 

Teaching specialty was a determinant of attitudes toward 
media news performance, with editorial-print media 
teachers tending toward newspapers as more potent news 
media than television, while other teachers tend to exhibit 
opposite points of view. 

Murphy. James E. The New Journalism: A Critical Perspective 
(Journalism Monographs 34). Lexington. Ky.: Association 
for Education in Journalism. 1974. 
Murphy questions the utility of the "New Journalism" 
concept of reporting. 

"The New Press Critics: Grassroots Review Samples #3". 
Columbia Journahsm Review. Special Supplement. Nov .-Dec. 
1972. pp. 29-40. 

Excerpts from various U.S. periodicals criticizing press 
performance from the treatment of hijackers to the over- 
emphasis on trivia in show-biz news. 

Otto, Herbert A. "Sex and Violence on the American 

News-stand". 7ou/-M<j/i.s/n Quarterly, vol. 40, pp. 19-26. 
"Prof Tebbel Blasts Press Inadequacies". Editor and Publisher. 

vol. 98(17). April 24. 1965, p. 88. 

,A noted historian of journalism talks of press failings. 
Rivers, William L. and Everette E. Dennis. "Other Voices 

Linger", Journalism Educator, vol. 29(2), July. 1974. pp. 5-9. 

Criticism of the New Journalism is broken down into five 



45 



categories and the necessity of diversity in journalism is 
stressed. 

Schlesinger, Arthur M. "Give the Pubhc a Break!" Nieman 
Reports, vol. 19(3), pp. 18-19. Sept. 1965. 

A succinct suggestion for more hard news and less 
entertainment in the news columns, and for the 
establishment of local "advisory councils" of citizens to 
appraise the "quality and balance" of a paper's news 
coverage. 

Seldes, Gilbert. "Television: In Peril of Change", Television 
Quarterly, vol. 4(2), Spring 1965. pp. 9-16. 

Seldes asks if television went too far in covering the 
Kennedy assassination and wonders if television were 
primarily responsible for Oswald's murder. 

Sheldon, Courtney R. "The White House and the Press: 
(Almost) Everybody Out of the Pool", Mass 
Communications Review, vol. 1, No. 1. Aug. 1973, pp. 3-8. 

Sheldon cnticizes Nixon's use of the "pool" concept as a 
substitution for traditional dialogue between government 
and press. 

Skornia, H.J. "Broadcast News: A Trade in Need of 

Professionalizing". Educational Broadcasting Review. June 
1973, pp. 137-148. 

Stein, M. L. "The Press Under Assault: View From the U.S.", 
Saturday Revien. vol. 51(41), pp. 75-6, Oct. 12, 1968. 

The press has become the nation's scaf>egoat for racial 
rioting, crime, et cetera in the U.S. 

Stone, Vernon A. and Thomas L. Beell. "To Kill a Messenger: 
A Case of Congruity", Journalism Quarterly, vol. 52, Spring 
1975, pp. 111-114. 

Results of an experiment support the argument that the 
mass media share the hazards of the ancient Persian 
messengers who brought bad news. Bias, in the form of 
newscaster endorsement of a report, tended to lower his 
esteem with the audience even when the news was good. 

Stosteck. H. "Factors Influencing Appeal of TV News 
PeisondVmes". Journal of Broadcasting, Winter 1973-74, 
pp. 63-71. 

Strenlz. Herbert et al. The Critical Factor: Criticism of the .Sews 
Media in Journalism Education (Journalism Monographs, 
No. 32). Lexington, Ky.: Association for Education in 
Journalism. 1974. 

Discusses the willingness of educators to assess media 
performance. 

Tatarian. Roger. "We Must Be Doing Something Right", 
Nieman Reports, vol. 21(3), Sept. 1967, pp. 20-3. 

Criticism coming from all sides suggests to Tatarian that 
newspapers, after all, "must be doing something right". 

Tobin. Richard L. "More Violent Than Ever", Saturday 
RevicH. vol. 51(45). Nov. 9. 1968, pp. 79-80. 

Tobin claims the media deserve criticism for their narrow 
concept of what constitutes news, for bad news and violence 
as television's staple fare, and for failure to meet public 
needs. 

" ' . . . Too Many Instances Where Newspapers and n 
Provoked Violence . . . ' " ipi, vol. 18(3-4), pp. 17-20. 
Jul./Aug. 1969. 
Opinion of representatives at Ottawa Assembly of IPI. 



Wiggins, J. Russell. "The Facts Are What Matter". Nieman 
Reports, pp. 15-18, Vol. 25, No. 1, Mar. 1971. 
Wiggins claims that adversary journalism will not lead the 
public to love the journalism profession, presenting facts 
instead of conjecture will gain respect and credibility. 

Young, Whitney. Jr. "The Social Responsibility of 
Broadcasters". Television Quarterly, vol. 8(2), pp. 7-17, 
Spring 1969. 

Young claims that the media seldom document the 
injustices which lead to the violent demonstrations. 



46 



An Analysis 
of Some __ 

News-Flow Patterns 
and Influences 
in Ontario 



Andrew M. Osier 

The Centre for Canadian Communication Studies 



University of Windsor 
Windsor, Ontario 



Contents 

Chapter 1 An Introduction: The Nature of the Study and Its Method Page 50 

2 General Characteristics of the Ontario News Web 53 

3 Relationships and Influences in the News-Flow System 55 

4 Violence in the Flow of News 60 

5 Tables Summarizing Newspaper and Television Data 65 

6 Conclusions and Recommendations 67 

Endnotes 69 

Appendix A A Selected Bibliography 70 

(The coding instrument and prominence index system used in 
this study are available from the author.) 



Acknowledgement 

The writer acknowledges with gratitude the excellent 
and enthusiastic work of his research assistants, Mr. 
Glenn Foster, senior assistant, and Mr. Anthony Cave, 
both honours undergraduate students in the 
Department of Communication Studies, the University 
of Windsor. 



49 



Chapter One 

An Introduction: The Nature 
of the Study and Its Method 



Information is generated whenever and wherever 
human beings interact with each other, or react to 
forces at work in their environment. A minute portion, 
relatively speaking, of this vast aggregate of expended 
human energN is deemed by journalists to be 
"newsworthy", that is to say of interest, in their opinion. 
to large numbers of people other than those directlv 
involved, and is processed through all or part of a 
world-wide news dissemination system. The volume of 
information converted into news around the world each 
day is itself incredibly large, manv thousands of times 
greater than any newspaper editor or broadcast news 
director could hope, or even want, to include in the 
daily content of his newspaper or broadcast. 

To make the sheer bulk manageable, news is forced 
through an intricate flow system with many individuals, 
editors and journalists, placed along the way, selecting 
and rejecting news items. These people have been 
described as "gatekeepers", the analogy being to a 
farmer sorting a large herd, opening a gate in a fence to 
certain individuals and closing it to others.' 

The first gatekeeper in the world-wide system is the 
reporter writing for a local paper or television or radio 
news operation in any town or city anvwhere in the 
world large enough, and affluent enough, to support one 
or more of these mass media. He simply decides what 
information in his immediate environment is 
"newsworthy", and deserving of conversion into a news 
article, and his is the first "gate". But the article he has 
written hasjust begun its journey. It must pass through 
at least one. and probablv two or three, more gates 
manned by his own editors before his article will be 
printed or broadcast by his own newsroom. Assuming 
this happy event occurs, and the odds are about even 
that it will, the article must pass through many more 
gates if it is to be given further public exposure in cities 
and towns halfway round the world, or even 50 miles 
down Highway 401. 

Once published or broadcast at the originating level, 
a news article may be selected by a national news wire 
service, such as Canadian Press, or by an international 
service such as the American-based Associated Press 
(.\p) and United Press International (i pi), or the British- 



based Reuters News Agency. Many gatekeepers will be 
placed along a news story's pathway through a wire 
system - the original selecting agent or editor in the 
originating community, reporters who rewrite for 
different emphases, translators who convert to different 
languages, editors functioning at the wire service's 
"nerve centre" newsroom where dispatches from all 
over the globe are gathered and sorted, and finally the 
editors who select items for inclusion in output wires to 
various clusters of media customers, content being 
selected according to geographic location, technical 
needs (print or broadcast), and content interests (busi- 
ness, religion or general mass information) of the wire 
recipient. Assuming the original article has passed 
through all these gates, it then must pass through the 
gates of two or more editors in the receiving newsroom. 
The whole process rarely takes more than 24 hours, 
even if the originating point is a most obscure and 
inaccessible corner of the globe: but the statistical odds 
against an article clearing all gates increase greatly as an 
article moves further and further from its point of 
origin. 

In this study, we have examined a very small portion 
of the world-wide news svstem. those strands of its web 
which are located entirely within Ontario, and those 
which enter the province from the rest of the world. 

The task has been to map these strands, to find out 
which ones are more important than others, and where 
the more influential gatekeepers are. We wanted to find 
out what kinds of information are stressed in the system 
and most likely to pass through all the gates. .'Vnd we 
wanted to find out which gates are most open geograph- 
ically - where most of the news comes from. Some 
emphasis has been placed upon the relatively little 
examined role plaved by newspapers, and given the 
context of the studv as a research endeavour funded by 
The Royal Commission on Violence in the Communica- 
tions Industry, and the information needs of the 
Commissioners, special consideration has been given to 
the flow of news of violence through the system. 

There are few research reports available comparable 
to the work described in the following pages, and none 
dealing with onlv the Canadian context.- This study 



50 



must be considered something of a beginning, therefore, 
and its conclusions should be regarded more as 
indicators for further more intensive and specific 
research than as absolutes. 

Our special concern, and caution, is with regard to 
the size of the sample upon which the study is based. 
Ideally, a study of this sort requires a sample that is 
wide, in the sense that all possible mputs mlo the system 
are covered; and deep, in the sense that the sample 
should cover enough news-days to generate exact statis- 
tics. There is no difficulty with the breadth of our 
sample (clearly the more important dimension), but the 
depth, though it involves a systematic examination of 
the flow of news through Ontario for three full news- 
days, is not fully adequate for the purposes of a 
definitive study. A statistically ideal sample would cover 
15 to 30 randomly selected days over a period of a year. 
whereas (due to research time constraints and a limited 
availability of raw news material for analysis) we have 
used a rather small and clustered sample which may be 
expected to produce statistical variances, possibly as 
great as plus or minus eight per cent, from those one 
might normallv anticipate from the larger and more 
ideal sample.' To compensate, we have regarded all 
statistics as indicators suggesting trends and probabil- 
ities rather than as precise statements of absolutes. A 
useful beginning is none the less made in these pages, 
one which we hope will generate more exhaustive 
studies. 

A statistically complete sample of the Ontario news 
system's content was accumulated and analyzed for 
each of the three days. May 19. 26 and 28, 1976. This 
represents a total of more than 2.400 individual 
newspaper, television news and wire-service items. 

Each sample day contained the following elements: 

Wire Services 

1. The Canadian Press "A" Wire - that is, the news co- 
operative's main national trunk wire carrying ( f''s distil- 
lation of all major Canadian and international news 
events of the day. 

2. The Canadian Press "Ontario" Wire - that is. the 
service transmitted from Toronto to most c p subscribers 
in Ontario. It carries highlights from the "A" Wire, a 
selection of Ontario news deemed to be of regional 
interest only, and a .service of syndicated features 
(advice, hobbies, medical columns and the like), some 
business, women's and sports information. (Only hard 
news elements were included in the sample.) 

3. The Assocated Press national wire as received at 
L Pi's Detroit. Michigan, bureau. 

4. United Press International's Canadian wire as 
prepared at ipi's Canadian office in Montreal. 

5. Reuters News Agency's Canadian service wire as 
prepared at the Reuters office in Toronto. 

Newspapers 

6. A sample of Ontario's newspapers was used in which 



we sought representation in terms of geographic 
location, circulation size, and type of ownership. The 
newspapers used in the sample were: The North Bay 
Nugget, The London Free Press. The Hamilton Spectator. 
The Kingston Whig-Standard. The Globe and Mail and 
The Toronto Star. In each newspaper, all information of 
a hard news nature was encoded from pages one. two 
and three, and from the two other most prominent news 
pages inside the individual papers. 

Television 

7. Scripts of the national news broadcasts of the CBC 
and CTV networks. 

8. Scripts of the evening national/regional newscasts 
of Global Television, a Toronto-based operation, 
unique in Ontario, with a network of remote trans- 
mitters blanketing most of southern Ontario. 

9. The main evening newscasts, in videotape form, for 
each of the following: cblt and rFTo in Toronto: cfpl 
in London: c hch in Hamilton: and ckws in Kingston. 

The sample was restricted to hard news and 
associated news features. Business, sports, women's, 
and other specialized categories of news were elimi- 
nated, as were editorials, columns of opinion, 
quasi-entertainment syndicated columns, and all other 
non-news material. Where specialized hard-news items 
from sports, women's, business and the like were co- 
opted into the main news pages, or incorporated in the 
main news-stream of wire service output or broadcast, 
these elements were included. 

Each news item from the sample was encoded 
according to source (newspaper, wire or broadcast), 
geographic origin, category of content, and item promi- 
nence in print broadcast. New.spaper article headlines 
were encoded, and in the case of broadcast, descriptive 
titles were assigned and encoded. "Slugs" - newsroom 
vernacular for the working titles of news stories, as 
printed by the wire services for all transmitted items - 
were encoded for story identification purposes. In the 
item categorization process, described below, approxi- 
mately ten per cent of the coding decisions were 
subjected to coder reliability tests, with no test yielding 
a correlation of less than 85 per cent agreement. 

A dual-categories system was devised for the 
purposes of the study, with the two parts of the system 
designated Class I and Class II. 

cTass I allowed separation of items into basic infor- 
mational categories like politics, business and 
economics, religion, el cetera, and. most important tor 
the purposes of this study, violence. Coders were 
instructed to assign all articles and items having central 
and primar) violent themes to Class I. 

The second classification level. Class II, was used to 
divide violent information into a wide range of types 
and degrees of individual, social and natural violence. 
The pnman purpiise of the secondary classification 
.system in the context of the present study was that it 
enabled us to develop an assessment of violence in the 



51 



news on several levels related to the significance of the 
violent content in individual news items. 

All items receiving a "Violence" assignment in Class I 
automatically received further sub-classification in 
Class 11. the dependent and specialized range of 
violence categories. In addition, any item noi receiving a 
violence assignment in Class I, but containing an 
important secondary violent theme in the judgment of 
the coder, was given appropriate classification in Class 
II. 

The system therefore yielded a three-level breakdown 
of sampled material in terms of violence content: (a) 
non-violent news in a range often categories; (b) news 
which was primarily violent in all its important aspects; 
and (c) news in which the main theme was not violent, 
but in which at least one prominent and supportive 
secondary theme was. To illustrate the sorts of infor- 
mation assigned to each of our two levels of violence 
classification, a story chronicling criminal activity, a 
robbery or a murder automatically would receive 
violent classification at both levels (Class I and Class 
II); on the other hand, a story about legitimate labour- 
management relationships (primarily non-violent infor- 
mation) but with a strong secondary theme describing a 
future possibility of strike action (a form of social 
violence) would receive violence classification at the 
secondary level only (Class II). 

In examining the data on subsequent pages, the 
reader is asked to appreciate that \he paramount 
instruction to coders was that they must be absolutely 
certain in their determination of violence classifications. 
We felt that if there was a possibility of error or 
inappropriatejudgment in this critical aspect of the 
research, it would be far better to err on the side of 
conservatism. Where there was clear doubt at either 
level of classification with regard to any item, that item 
did not receive the violence classification for which it 
was being considered, but was classified as though it did 
not contain the doubtful element. 

A "prominence index" was also devised for the 
purposes of this study. Researchers analyzing content 
data in the news media have recognized for many years 
the obvious problem that some items in a newspaper or 
in a broadcast are more prominently displayed, and 
therefore are more likely to be read or viewed with close 
attention than are others. In many content studies, 
prominence has been measured, sometimes rather 
roughly, according to length of item and headline size in 
the case of newspapers, and by item length and time 
and sequence position in the case of broadcast. Such 
prominence systems can be made more elaborate, and 
more useful, by noting other display factors such as the 
presence or absence (and type) of graphics associated 
with a given item. 

For the purposes of the present study, a number of 
factors affecting item prominence were grouped so that 
their presence or absence, or degree of presence or 
absence, could be translated into a numerical value on a 



scale between zero and ten."* An empirical test of the 
system as applied in newspapers was made by 
comparing values achieved on a proportionate basis 
with actual readership percentage levels as measured in 
surveys conducted by the newspaper market analysis 
firm. Daniel Starch (Canada) Limited. The sample of 
Starch surveys available to us for comparative purposes 
was quite small, but the correlation between the results 
of our comparatively crude but simple device, and the 
very elaborate Starch measurement system, 
were gratifying. 



52 



Chapter Two 

General Characteristics of the 
Ontario News Web 



The "nerve centre" of the Ontario portion of the world- 
wide news web is the newsroom of Canadian Press on 
King Street in Toronto, cp is a news cooperative owned 
by 1 10 daily newspapers - virtually the entire roster of 
daily papers in Canada. < p is financed in large measure 
by the member newspapers, each paying a share of the 
cooperative's costs proportionate to its circulation. (In 
1974, for instance, the largest member newspaper paid 
$200,000 toward c p's maintenance, while the smallest 
paid $7,000.) Additional revenues are derived from the 
sale of news services to radio and television outlets 
through the cp subsidiary. Broadcast News Limited, 
established in 1956.- 

The aflairs of the news cooperative are managed, and 
policy established, by the member newspapers on a 
basis of one vote per paper, regardless of the significant 
variations in newspaper sizes. Unlike many national 
news services in other countries, cp receives no financial 
support from any government, and operates free from 
governmental policy directives of any kind. 

cp uses up to five wires in the transmission of its 
services to newspapers and broadcast outlets in 
Ontario: the "A" wire of national and international 
content, and the "Ontario" regional wire, both 
described previously; two ancilliary wires, one 
providing primarily sports items and some business 
content, and the other used primarily for overload 
purposes when more items must be moved than other 
wires in the system, especially the "A" wire, can accom- 
modate. This service is important only to major dailies 
with multiple deadline schedules, and most material so 
moved is normally retransmitted as time becomes 
available on an appropriate major wire. Finally, there is 
the "Broadcast News" wire produced by Broadcast 
News Limited, the closely linked c p subsidiary. The 
content of the bn wire is virtually identical to that of the 
Ontario wire the two wires are produced in the same 
Toronto newsroom - but with items rewritten to meet 
the specialized language used in broadcasting. 

The "Ontario" and the "Broadcast News" wires 
constitute the most basic service a newspaper or 
broadcast outlet can acquire. Obviously, these are the 
standard, and often the only, wire services received in 



the smallest news operations of the province. Larger 
papers, virtually all those with circulations above 20,000 
copies daily, also receive the "A" wire, and in most 
instances the sports wire as well. Larger television and 
radio operations also subscribe to these services, even 
though it means rewriting the copy to suit broadcasting 
needs. 

CP operates a highly eflicient news-exchange system. 
It maintains a staff of its own reporters in major centres 
in Canada, but apart from governmental news from 
Ottawa and, in the case of Ontario, the legislature in 
Toronto, both of which it covers extensively, cp origi- 
nates relatively little news. The great bulk of the 
material it moves originates with member newspapers, 
which work under an agreement in which they place 
their entire news content at the disposal of the news 
cooperative. In larger Canadian centres, cp maintains 
offices where full-time staff members of the news service 
gather the daily local news output and send selected 
items to Toronto for further editing and selection 
processes and possible ultimate inclusion in one of the 
cooperative's output wires. In smaller communities, an 
individual, usually a reporter for the local paper, is 
designated as the cp agent, and is responsible for 
sending news from his area to cp in Toronto. Radio and 
television newsrooms have no contractual obligation to 
supply local news to cp, though a number do so on a 
voluntary basis. 

As the major Canadian subscriber to various interna- 
tional wire services, Canadian Press, at its Toronto 
newsroom, is bv far the most significant importer into 
Canada of U.S. and other foreign news. The world-wide 
American news agency, the Associated Press (\p). has a 
cooperative exchange relationship with cp and provides 
the greatest portion of foreign news carried on cp wires. 
\p delivers several of its wires to a cp office in New York 
where a small staff of editors selects from this rather 
large volume of material a "budget" (wire ser\ice jargon 
meaning a selection of news items) for transmission to 
cp's Toronto newsroom. Items from this ap budget are 
selected for inclusion, under the \P logo, in cp's various 
internal Canadian services, cp receives a similar service. 
though of considerably smaller volume, from the worid- 



53 



wide British-based news service, the Reuters News 
Agency, and from a small selection of foreign national 
news agencies such as Agence France Presse. Reuters 
maintains a bureau in Toronto where its staff members 
prepare a wire for a small group of Canadian media 
customers, among them the Canadian Press. 

Canadian Press is clearly the nerve centre of the 
Ontario news web. Virtually no domestically generated 
news items move from one point in Ontario to another 
without passing through the hands of cp"s gatekeepers in 
the cooperative's Toronto newsroom. Furthermore, by 
far the larger portion of foreign news ultimately 
published or broadcast in Ontario also passes through 
the hands of cp"s editors in Toronto. (Few newspaper, 
readers, aware as they must be of the familiar ap and 
Reuters logos on so many foreign news stories they 
read, can be aware that these stories have been selected, 
in the majority of cases, by cp's gatekeepers, and have 
reached them via Canadian Press wires.) 

However, there are a number of strands in the 
Ontario news web. some of them quite influential, which 
bypass the Toronto nerve centre of the Canadian Press. 
United Press International (upi). the American news 
agency which competes on a global scale with ap, 
maintains offices in Montreal, where the agencv 
prepares a wire for Canadian consumption of U.S. and 
other foreign news. This wire is transmitted directly to a 
handful of very large Canadian media customers, the 
largest among these being The Toronto Star. This consti- 
tutes an important alternative to the much more 
pervasive ap and Reuters content as fed through cp. 
Reuters also feeds its Canadian service directly to a 
number of media customers. The Globe and Mail and 
The Toronto Star among them, constituting a bypass 
around the cp gatekeepers which, in this case, permits 
Reuters" customers to make their item selections 
directly from the agency's transmitted budget. In 
addition, the news system of the Canadian Broadcasting 
Corporation (CBC). and to a lesser extent that of the ctv 
network, receive foreign material from a variety of wire 
services in addition to those of the Canadian Press, and 
from various foreign networks and national broad- 
casting systems by direct off-air feed and satellite trans- 
mission agreements. 

At the domestic level, alternatives to the dominant 
Canadian Press system are less important, though there 
are some significant elements. All the newspapers repre- 
sented in our sample, for instance, have private repor- 
torial services in Ottawa, and most also at the provincial 
legislature in Toronto. The content of such services 
consists primarily of political news - frequently political 
commentary and analysis - and is intended usually to 
supplement cp's blanket coverage of Canadian political 
activity, not to compete with it. The three newspaper 
chains operating in Ontario - Southam. FP, and 
Thomson Newspapers - maintain private networks 
among their member papers, but again, the content of 
these is limited in volume and consists almost entirelv of 



political news and commentary. (The chains, through 
their member newspapers, are heavy financial 
supporters of Canadian Press, and have no desire to 
duplicate the cooperative's thorough and relatively 
economic news-exchange services.) 

In the broadcast field. Canadian Press, through its 
subsidiary. Broadcast News, clearly dominates. In 
recent years, bn has developed a voice service for televi- 
sion, and especially radio, which permits its customers 
to receive voice actuality accounts from remote news 
centres. However, a number of small private operators 
that have been in the field for some years provide bn 
with limited competition, especially in the dissemi- 
nation of political news from Ottawa and from the 
provincial legislature in Toronto. News generated at 
these political news centres is frequently predictable, 
and relatively cheap and easy to gather; the private 
operators rarely venture into the more general news 
arena where news-generating events tend to be far less 
predictable, can occur anywhere and at any time, and 
are more costly to cover, bn. therefore, is largely alone 
in the field, with the important exception of the 
specialized area of political-governmental information. 

As a final note in this general description of the 
Ontario news system, it seems probable that the 
dominant role now held by Canadian Press and its 
Broadcast News subsidiary will become even more solid 
in future years. At the time of writing, cp has all but 
completed its conversion to a fully computerized news 
processing and transmitting system. This computer 
technology involves computerized news storage and 
sorting, and editing on computer-linked visual display 
terminals. Relatively few Ontano newsrooms have as 
yet acquired the matched computer hardware which 
will allow them to receive the virtually instantaneous 
computerized transmission service from cp in Toronto, 
but this must be regarded as a technical lag which will 
disappear in relatively few years. 



54 



Chapter Three 

Relationships and Influences 
in the News-Flow System 



An appropriate first observation to be made about the 
news that flows through the Ontario web is that there is 
a great deal of it. Newspaper readers typically are 
exposed to about 45 hard-news stories in each day's 
edition of their paper, and television audiences watch a 
combination of national and local news telecasts in late- 
evening time slots consisting of about 25 items. Possibly 
few people realize, despite the gales in the system which 
eliminate very large volumes of news data (a 
phenomenon about which most people are also quite 
unaware) that the tvpical editor or news director, acting 
as a final pre-publication broadcast gatekeeper. 
receives far more material than he can possibly use. 

In a typical three-day period, such as the one from 
which our sample was taken, we can assume most 
newspaper editors will be able to publish about 135 
hard-news items of various sizes and prominence, while 
news programmers responsible for coordinating nation- 
al/local news combinations, will be able to use about 75 
items. During our threc-dav period. Ontario editors, 
served by the typical combination of the Canadian 
Press "A" and "Ontario" wires, received 573 items from 
the two services, 274 from the "A" wire, and 299 from 
the "Ontario". The space/time problem is further 
complicated by the fact that in our sample, only 56.7 
per cent of available newspaper space, and in television. 
only 69.2 per cent of available time, was assigned to 
wire-service or other out-of-town news material. The 
locally produced news, filling the remainder of available 
space/time in the typical newsroom, would have been 
greater by about a factor of two than space/time 
available for publication or broadcast would have 
permitted. 

A critical factor that clearlv emerged from our data 
concerns this volume of news material available to 
editors and news directors, which results in the 
extremely varied daily content of the vanous media 
outlets. It is quite possible to read The London Free 
Press. The Toronto Star and The North Bav Nugget on 
the same date of publication and wonder if they are 
describing the same society. The .same might be said of 
local telecasts, and to a lesser extent, of the competing 
national news telecasts. 



We found this to be not only interesting, but rather 
touched with irony as well. There is a prevalent myth 
among newspeople. and members of the public as well, 
that the major Toronto newspapers, via Canadian Press, 
set the news agenda and, again through the facilities of 
the wire service, even write much of the news content of 
the smaller newspapers across the province. Tliis myth 
is often extended to include the notion that the CBC, CTv 
and Global national news selections are made only after 
careful reference to The Globe and Maid first late- 
evening edition. (Tt)rontonians are among the few who 
can live the fantasv of reading tomorrow's newspaper 
today. The Globe and Mail's first edition is on the streets 
of Toronto at 9:30 p.m. each evening prior to the actual 
data of publication, a bit of gentle chronological hocus- 
pocus which, with the collusion of the airlines, gives 
substance to the pretence Globe and Mail snhscnhtK 
hold dear that they are reading today's newspaper 
today, wherever thev happen to be in the country.) 

Substance is given below, from the data, to our 
contention that "retail" news (the news content of print 
and broadcast actually consumed by the public) 
contains much more varied fare than is popularly 
supposed. There are other factors, however, which 
indicate that the news "wholesialers", primarily the wire 
services which provide so much of the retailers' 
material, are believers in the notion that the greater and 
more important portion of news from Ontario and the 
world is that selected for publication broadcast each 
das by the Toronto media, especially the Toronto 
newspapers. 

In fact, twice each day, morning and evening. 
Canadian Press transmits synopses of the front pages of 
the three Toronto dailies as they are published, and 
summarv statements of the key elements in the major 
network telecasts as they occur. Presumably, the gate- 
keepers at cp-a Toronto-based group, one should 
always remember - believe editors and news directors in 
smaller Ontario communities will require this infor- 
mation before deciding upon the content of their own 
dailv editions. 

This presumption is given substance by a dateline 
frequency survey taken from our "A" and "Ontario" 



55 



wire data of points of origin of cp content (Figures I 
and 2). Of the 573 individual hard-news items trans- 
mitted on the two wires, 100 were datelined Toronto, 
and another 104 (almost all these items containing 
political-governmental information) were datelined 
Ottawa. Ten more Canadian centres, four of them in 
Ontario, had five or more datelines for a total of 113 
(Montreal, with 42. having the lion's share from this 
grouping). Of the remaining items transmitted. 109 were 
from foreign points of origin, leaving only 147 datelines 
scattered across Ontario and the rest of Canada; no one 
place in this group received more than four datelines. 
Thus. 53 per cent of the Canadian items in the sample 
came from only three points of origin: Toronto, Ottawa 
and Montreal (a poor third). 

Newsrooms outside Toronto. howe\er. do not neces- 
sarily respond in their published broadcast material to 
the influences presumed to exist in the popular news- 
flow m\ thologyjust demonstrated by the survey of our 
sample of Canadian Press content. In fact, editors and 
news directors outside Toronto appear to do what thev 
can to minimize the impact of the heavy Toronto - 
Ottawa weighting in the cp content they receive (Figure 
2). We discuss this point with more specific references to 
the data below, along with other factors apparentlv 
contributing to variations in individual media content. 
Howe\er. prior consideration must be given to a 
number of important aspects of the news-flow process 
which, at first glance, at least, seem to give credence to 
the notion that news at the retail level across Ontario is 
both thoroughly homogenized and Toronto - Ottawa 
centred. 

Figure 1 

Canadian Press - Dateline Frequency Survey 
The sample of Canadian Press material, from both the 
"A" and "Ontario" wires, contained a total of 573 
datelines identifying centres in Canada, the United 
States and other foreign countries as points of news 
origin. Of these, only 19 centres shared 74.5 per cent of 
all items transmitted during the sample period. The 
breakdown follows: 



United States Centres 

Washington 
New York 
Los Angeles 

Other Foreign Centres 

London 
Beirut 
Moscow 
United Nations 



44 
12 

5 



25 

II 

6 

6 



All remaining centres receiving datelines in the 
sample received between one and four dateline 
mentions. 

Figure 2 

Newspaper Sample - Dateline Frequency Survey 
The sample contained 686 individual hard-news items, 
of which 197 received no datelines, being of local origin 
to the newspapers in which they appeared. This left a 
sample of 389 datelined items (56.7 per cent of the total) 
from centres outside the circulation areas of the 
surveyed papers. Eleven centres shared 56.8 per cent of 
the datelined items or 32.2 per cent of the total sample. 



Canadian Centres 



Ottawa 

Toronto 

Montreal 

Vancouver 

Stratford 

Quebec City 

Napanee 

Picton 

Belleville 

Other Ontario (from 40 centres) 

Other Canada (from 14 centres) 

Total 



Datelines 
75 
45 
19 
10 

8 

7 

7 

6 

5 
79 
18 

279 



Canadian Centres 

Ottawa 

Toronto 

Montreal 

Quebec 

Hamilton 

Vancouver 

St. John's 

Edmonton 

Regina 

Sault Ste. Marie 

Belleville 

Windsor 



Datelines 

104 

100 

42 

11 

II 

10 

10 

7 

7 

5 

5 

5 



United States Centres 

Washington 

Other (from 23 centres) 

Total 

Other Foreign Centres 

London 
Tel Aviv 
Other (from 30 centres) 

Total 



14 
25 

39 



20 

5 

46 

71 



.^11 centres not specificalK identified by name 
received four or fewer dateline mentions. 



56 



A. The Illusion of Sameness 

Supertkially at least, all the newspaper and broadcast 
content seems the same. And indeed it is. in the 
restricted sense that Ontario's news people are bound to 
a common set of traditions and values by which they 
identify newsworthv information, sort relative priorities 
of news Items, and use a unique journalistic style. News 
fraternity traditions and behaviour are described by the 
writer in another study for the Commission.*' But the 
notion that there is a certain homogeneity of news 
themes is significant in the context of this discussion, 
and is validated quite clearly in our data. 

Though the breakdowns in these summaries deal 
specifically with the violent elements in the news, we 
found that each of the ten non-violent primary 
categories tended to be present with similar emphases in 
each of the retail media in the sample. Political news 
inevitably received the highest share of content, and 
religious news the lowest, with other categories ranked 
variously in between. The proportions varied little from 
one medium to the ne.xt. too little in most instances for 
the casual reader to discern thematic differences. The 
tables on violence content (Figures 5-7) demonstrate 
that the great majority of percentages in each column 
are within seven points of the sample average. There are 
exceptions, of course, which might tend to even out 
somewhat in a larger sample. TTiere are, for instance. 
the rather high exceptions in the sample, such as The 
Hamilton Spectator and Global Television News, and 
the consistently low example of The Kingston 
Whig-Standard, in violence content for the sample 
period. These three examples show the most extreme 
variation from the sample norm, but would not likely 
influence any subconscious public sense about thematic 
proportions in news presentation. It is also significant 
that the proportions of violence content in the sample of 
Canadian Press material analyzed approximate quite 
closely the percentages in the tables pertaining to 
newspaper and television content (Figures 5-7). 

A second point promoting what we regard as the 
illusion of system-wide homogeneity in the Ontario 
news web derives also from proportionate comparisons 
- in this case the proportions of content allotted by the 
media and the wire services according to geographic 
proximity. Again, a breakdown of the content at both 
the retail and the wholesale levels indicates that news is 
presented in more or less common proportions 
throughout the web on a geographic basis. The 
percentage comparisons (Figure 10) indicate that the 
frequency with which news items are selected decreases 
sharpiv according to their distance from the point of 
publication or broadcast. This remains quite consistent 
from one media outlet to another and adds to the 
superficial appearance of content homogeneity in the 
news system. 

B. riie Reality of Content Differences 

The apparent homogeneity among news retailers in the 



web is largely illusory in terms of actual content. 
Journalistic style, thematic similarities, the effect of 
geographic proximity, and the Toronto - Ottawa 
emphasis in the content of the Canadian Press wires all 
promote this illusion and. in fact, do create the limited 
amount of content homogeneity which does exist in the 
system. However, in a detailed examination of retail 
media content they are seen to be less significant than 
anticipated. The following data indicatejust how varied 
the actual content of the news media is. In this case, we 
are dealing with newspapers, but similar patterns exist 
in televised news as well. 

Figure 3 

Newspapers - Prominence of Heavily Used Wire-Service 

Items 

Newspapers' using the item, and the prominence level 

of each item, are indicated beside each numbered item. 



Date: May 19 
Canadian Press 
Item #1: Globe 6.0 

Free Press 4.5 

mug 4.0 

Spectator 4.0 
Nugget 3.5 

Item #2: Spectator 1.5 
Free Press 6.0 
Whi^ 6.0 
Star3.5 
Nugget 2.5 

Item it 3: Star 4.0 
Globe 3.0 
Spectator 3.5 
Free Press 2.5 

Item #4: Free Press 2.5 
Globe 1.5 
Star 1.5 

Item *5: Nugget 6.5 
Whig 5.0 

Two other items received two instances 
of publication each, with prominence 
levels of 2.5 or less. 

Associated Press 

I tern * 1 : Spectator 4.0 
Globe 3.5 

Item #2: Globe 4.0 

Spectator 2.5 

No other significant multiple uses were 
observed from \r, t f'i or Reuters 
offerings. 



57 



Date: May 26 

Canadian Press 

Item #1: Globe 3.5 

Free Press 3.0 
Spectator 3.0 

Item #2: Star 3.5 
Whig 3.0 
f^ugget 1.5 

Item #3: Nugget 7.0 
^KI^/^ 5.0 

Associated Press 

Item *1; Globe 4.5 
Whig 4.0 
Free Press 2.5 
Spectator 1.0 

Item #2: Globe 6.0 

Spectator 5.0 

(from Reuters) Srar 7.0 

Item V:3: Whig 3.0 
Nugget 2.5 

No other significant multiple uses were 
observed. 

Date: May 28 

Canadian Press 

Item ?F 1 : Spectator 8.0 
Globe 7.0 
Whig 6.0 
Nugget 5.5 
i'/ar 4.0 

Item #2: Nugget 4.5 
Star 3.5 
Whig 3.5 
Spectator 3.5 
C/oAe 3.0 

Item #3: ff'/!(;^6.5 

free Prew 3.5 
Star 3.0 

Item #4: Free Press 2.0 
Spectator 2.0 
Nugget 1.5 

Item #5: Nugget 2.5 
Spectator 1.5 
Free Pre^i 1 .0 

Associated Press 

Item #1: Spectator 5.5 
Star 2.5 
W/?/^ 2.0 



Reuters 
Item #1 



Free Press 3.5 
5wr3.5 

No other significant multiple uses were 
observed. 



*Note abbreviations: 

Nugget: The North Bay Nugget 
Free Press: The London Free Press 
Spectator: The Hamilton Spectator 
Whig: The Kingston Whig-Standard 
Globe: The Globe and Mail 
Star: The Toronto Star 

The tables in Figure 3 tell us a number of things. 
First, not one story in the common wire-service pool 
enjoyed total usage during the study period, at least not 
in the prominent sections of the newspapers examined. 
Three stories in the three-dav period were covered in 
five of the six papers and. as the tables indicate, only 20 
wire stories enjoyed significant multiple use in the 
sample. 

This low level of content duplication is probably 
modified by two factors not measured in this study. The 
first of these is that some wire stories may have been 
duplicated bv staff correspondents of individual papers, 
or possibly bv the limited private services such as those 
operated b\ the Southam newspaper chain. Modest in- 
house wires, such as Southam's. consist primarily of 
political news and commentary and are not likelv to be 
a significant factor in the present context however. 
Second, it is probable that some of the duplicated items 
dropped into inconspicuous pages outside the sampled 
portions in the papers studied. However, here they 
would most likelv recei\e quite low prominence 
rankings, and therefore not alter our findings signifi- 
cantly. The conclusion remains that content in the five 
news pages of greatest prominence in each of the 
sample newspapers is extraordinarily varied. 

A summary of instances of wire-service usage is 
provided in Figure 4: it supports the contention that 
there is relatively little common content in the sampled 
portions of the papers. The Hamilton Spectator rose to a 
usage level of 22 instances in one day. the highest in the 
sample. No other paper used more than 17 items in a 
single day: however, in the five prominent pages 
sampled in each paper, the norm was about 13. 

Where common usage occurred, especially in the 20 
multiple-use chains identified in the sample, the stories 
involved tended to be displayed quite prominently. This 
is evident in the generally high prominence index levels 
assigned to most of the stories identified in each 
multiple-u.se case described in the tables. Most of these 
stories appeared on page one of the newspapers using 
them, and most of the multiple-use situations - there 
were exceptions - contained at least one instance where 



58 



the story was used as the major headline item of the 
day. 

As we have seen, an average 43.2 per cent of the 
content of our newspaper sample was undatehned, 
locally produced news material. When this fact is 
coupled with the evidence that wire-service copy is used 
less extensively than one might imagine, and apparently 
at random, and if the common usage patterns described 
are an indication, then (me may conclude that there is a 
high degree of individuality in the content of Ontano's 
newspapers. 

What we have said of newspapers also seems to apply 
to television news. The strongest common content link 
we could identify among television news programs was 
that existing between the late evening national 
newscasts of the c bc and trv networks. Ihese networks 
shared an average of five news stories in each of the 
three days, almost all with high prominence levels in 
both networks. The shared items accounted for 41 per 
cent of available time in the i ur newscasts, and 45.9 per 
cent in the civ newscasts. Both newscasts are essentially 
national headline services and, with the exception of the 
occasional feature item, do little more than offer the 
most prominent news events of the day. These are the 



same items that receive extensive multiple-use in the 

newspapers. 

Conversely to the ( B( ( r\ situation, we found no 
statistically important link between Global Television's 
format, which combines local, regional and national 
news, and the respective combinations of cbc and ctv 
with their Toronto affiliates, cblt and cfto. 

Finally, the Toronto market does not seem to 
encourage duplication of items any more than the 
limited extent noted in the rest of the province. The 
Toronto Slur and The Globe and Mail share in the 
province-wide phenomenon of independent copy selec- 
tion, and appear to have little direct and visible impact 
upon each other's content, or that of the national and 
local television news services. 

The Toronto Sun. a morning tabloid, operates apart 
from the general news tradition of the province and is 
difficult to link comparatively with, say. The Toronto 
Star or The London Free Press. We examined its 
content, and found that it bore little relationship to the 
content, thematic structure, or journalistic formal 
common to other Ontario newspapers. We chose to 
regard it as an aberration, therefore, and to exclude it 
from the context of this study. 



Figure 4 

Newspapers — Instances of Wire-Service Use in Sampled Portions oj each Newspaper 

Number of News-Senice Items Used 



Newspaper 


Date 


CP 


Al 


North Bay 


May 19 


10 


_ 


Nugget 


May 26 


14 


3 




May 28 


10 


1 


Globe 


May 19 


6 


1 


and Mail 


May 26 


2 


3 




May 28 


II 


1 


London 


May 19 


12 


2 


Free 


May 26 


10 


6 


Press 


May 28 


7 


3 


Toronto 


May 19 


6 


- 


Star 


May 26 


2 


2 




May 28 


3 


3 


Kingston 


May 19 


12 


- 


Whig- 


May 26 


14 


2 


Standard 


May 28 


12 


2 


Hamilton 


May 19 


11 


3 


Spectator 


May 26 


12 


7 




May 28 


13 


5 



UPI 



Reuters 



Total 
per day 

10 
17 
II 

10 

8 

12 

15 
17 
14 

12 
13 
13 

12 
16 
14 

!6 
21 

22 



59 



Chapter Four 

Violence in the Flow of News 



A concept which underHes much of what we have said 
about media news content m previous chapters has to 
do with the idea that, while there are significant varia- 
tions in actual content elements, there are also strong 
thematic similarities. This phenomenon, in our opinion, 
is largely responsible for the illusion that the news 
media manifest an overwhelming sameness in content 
selection. We have attempted to demonstrate the rather 
extraordinary variety that actually exists in the detail of 
content, but we have also suggested that there is consid- 
erable substance to the thesis that there are, conversely, 
strong thematic similarities, i.e. sameness in news 
definition as generated by the common English- 
language journalistic tradition in which Ontario news 
people share: standardization in journalistic writing and 
editing style; and. most important in the present 
context, a standardization of informational themes and 
of the amounts of information offered in specific 
categories. 

Violence is one of journalism's underlying themes, 
and it is present both with consistency and strength 
throughout the content of the province's media. Overtly 
violent news items, i.e.. items classified in Class I as 
having dominantly violent themes, are consistently and 
quite visibly present in the news, though perhaps not 
preponderantly. This is demonstrated in the tables 
summarizing both general and violence content in each 
of the newspaper and television groupings in the sample 
(Tables 1 and 2). 

The thematic presence of violence in both Class 1 and 
Class II. expressed as percentages of total content in 
number of items and in inches/seconds for each of the 
three media groupings is summarized in Figures 5. 6, 
and 7. Note that in Class I approximate figures on 
violence indicate 1 7 per cent of the total items, but only 
about 1 5 inches of the total copy in the newspaper and 
wire copy sampled.' Television levels of violence in 
Class I are markedly higher, but not sufficiently so to 
suggest that television journalists, much more than their 
print and wire-service colleagues, are obsessed with 
copy of an overtly violent nature. The fact that the 
inches/seconds factor is lower than the items factor in 
the cases of all three media groups indicates that the 



larger amount of violent news consists of brief, low- 
prominence items. 



Figure 5 

Canadian Press — 

Percentages of Violence Conienl in Sample 





Class I 




Class II 






Items 


Inches 


Items 


Inches 


cp "A" Wire 


\l.Wc 


\4A% 


36.8% 


33.0% 


CP "Ontario" 










Wire 


15.0 


10.5 


35.4 


31.3 



Class I: Items with violent primary themes. 
Class II: Items with violent primary or secondary 
themes. 



Figure 6 

Newspapers - 



Percentages of Violence Content in Sample 





Class I 




Class II 




Items 


Inches 


Items 


Inches 


London Free Press 


13.6% 


12.2% 


41.8% 


40.3% 


Globe and Mail 


17.6 


15.5 


46.9 


41.6 


North Bay Nugget 


12.1 


6.3 


36.3 


30.2 


Hamilton Spectator 


28.2 


24.6 


49.6 


48.7 


Toronto Star 


20.7 


15.7 


36.9 


38.2 


Kingston Whig- 
Standard 


12.6 


12.5 


24.2 


28.4 


Sample Averages 


17.5 


14.5 


39.3 


37.9 



60 



Figure 7 

Television — Percentages of Violence Content in Sample 

Class I Class 11 

Items Seconds Items Seconds 

CBC 20.3% 8.7% 44.4% 36.7% 

CTv 13.3 6.5 51.1 41.1 

Global 32.6 22.6 57.1 47.9 

(BIT 34.2 29.2 45.7 37.3 

CFTO 40.5 36.2 45.9 45.6 

CFPL 20.6 10.5 41.3 32.7 

CHCH 21.2 10.8 31.9 25.2 

CKWS 11.7 3.6 35.2 36.1 

L'nfortunately. an assessment of the relatively 
moderate presence of violence as indicated by the Class 
I identification process does not tell the whole story. If 
it did, one would have some ditTiculty mounting any 
reasonable argument to suggest the news media were 
behaving in an untoward manner by unduly empha- 
sizing violent elements in the news. The primary role of 
the news media, after all. is to tell society about it.self, 
and, given the unfortunate nature of modern society in 
many of its aspects, the assignment of approximatelv 17 
per cent of media content to overtly violent news does 
not seem especially out of the way. 

The picture of violence levels in the news becomes 
rather more ominous when one examines the statistics 
concerning violence in Class II. Here, coders were 
instructed to include not only those items with overtly 
violent primary themes, but also those with violent 
secondary themes contributing importantly to the 
content of the story. Coders were warned, however, to 
exercise caution in all their estimations of violence in 
classification decisions. 

Despite this, violence levels of considerably greater 
magnitude were recorded at the level of secondary 
themes. Figures 5, 6 and 7 demonstrate increases in 
violence levels to an average 39.3 per cent in the case of 
newspapers as measured by items; to 36.8 per cent in 
the case of the Canadian Press "A" Wire; and to 44. 1 
per cent, also as measured by items, in the case of 
television news. These percentages are lower when the 
measurement of secondary violence is taken by inches 
seconds rather than by items, which indicates again that 
the violence is present more in a large number of small, 
relatively low-prominence items than the relatively few 
high-prominence, heavilv displayed items. Even 
allowing for these tempering factors, however, the data 
suggest evidence for concern with regard to the signifi- 
cance of the violent theme as a common underlying 
factor in Ontario's news-flow system. 

When we undertook this study, our small research 



group debated at some length on the definition of 
violence provided for us by the Commission. We felt it 
could be interpreted unrealistically in too broad a sense, 
that it could be read to include aspects of life that are 
both inevitable and perfectly natural as violent human 
experiences. The naturalness of death in old age, for 
instance, or the birth agonies each of us and our 
mothers experienced might be construed as being 
violent, but to interpret the definition so broadly would 
make it of little use in the process of taking a measure of 
possible aberrational media concentration on elements 
of violence in the human condition. It was for this 
reason that we refined the definition in the process of 
creating our coding instrument, and that we were 
especially cautious in identifying items for Class II 
inclusion. And yet. the concept that violence can be 
both subtle and emerging in unexpected comers must 
be considered. Violence and the aberrational presen- 
tation of it in the media frequently are infinitely more 
subtle than the obvious murders, volcanic eruptions, 
epidemics and wars, and the news reports of such 
phenomena. The media do not seem to recognize this 
fact sufficiently. 

The Toronto Star, for instance, has a specific policy, 
to which all its editors adhere, that overtly violent news 
must not appear on the front page unless there are 
demonstrable reasons demanding its inclusion. Despite 
this policy, we note from our sample data that the Stars 
violence level climbs to 36.3 per cent of content by 
items, and to 38.2 per cent by inches. These percentages 
would seem to suggest that the Star actually reverses the 
trend described in our data, and plays news with 
secondary violent themes at levels of greater promi- 
nence than news with no violent themes. We note as 
well, that in the Class 1 statistics (the area where the 
Star's embargo on violence must have its greatest 
impact), the percentage of violence expressed in inches 
is nearly five percentage points below the 20.7 per cent 
figure for the measurement of information by items. 
This data would indicate that the Star plays its overtly 
violent stories at a rather low-key level. 

Our prominence-index system was used to measure 
the relative prominence in display of non-violent and 
violent news elements. Violence was measured for this 
purpose b\ the Class I svstem (Figures 8 and 9). Here 
we noted some interesting diversions in the behaviour of 
newspaper and television editors in the display of 
violent news, though in both media, the violence items 
are rather well distributed among the non-violent ones. 
Prominence levels were grouped for the purposes of 
these tables: high, indicating all items between 6.5 and 
10; medium, 3.5 to 6.0; and low, 3.0 and under. 

The 19.4 violence percentage in the high category for 
newspapers is somewhat above the Class I average for 
newspapers, and suggests the papers tend to display a 
small number of overtly violent items with great promi- 
nence. This is supported by the fact that of the 20 



61 



Figure 8 

Newspapers — 

Violence Conieni Breakdown bv Prominence Index 

Number of items in each prominence level for violent 
and other content 



between violence content and geographv. The 
geographic breakdowns by violence content describe 
two general themes: the percentage of total news 
content tends to decrease rapidly as distance from the 
point of publication or broadcast increases; and the 
violence element m content increases greatly as distance 
increases (Fiaures 10, 1 1 and 12). 



Prominence level 

Violent primarv themes 
Other themes 

Violence content as a 

percentage 



High 
(10-6.5) 

7 
29 
19.4% 



Medium 
(6-3.5) 

33 
234 
12.3% 



Low 

(3-0) 

79 
304 
20.6% 



Note: the Class I system has been applied in this 
breakdown to indicate the prominence in print of items 
with violent /)/-//;!an- themes relative to other news 
content. Items with violent secondary themes only (Class 
II) are not specifically identified. 



Figure 9 

Television — 

Violence Conieni Breakdown bv Prominence Index 

Number of items in each prominence level for violent 
and other content 



Prominence level 

Violent primary themes 

Other themes 

Violence content as a 
percentage 



Note: the Class I SNStem has been applied in this 
breakdown to indicate the prominence in broadcast of 
items with \io\enl primarv themes relative to other news 
content. Items with violent secondarv themes only (Class 
II) are not specifically identified. 

multiple-use chains of stories described in Figure 3. 15 
had received at least Class II violence classification by 
our coders. 

The significant comment made about television news 
coverage by prominence measurement is that the very 
high percentages of violence, described in Figure 7, are 
quite heavily weighted in the low-prominence region. 
To some e.xtent. this must be regarded as a leavening 
influence on the overall impact of violence news in 
television as measured by our sample. 

Finally, in this discussion of violence content in the 
provincial news-flow, we were struck by the relationship 



Figure 10 

Summary Comparison - 



Geographic Origins of News 



Ontario 

Canada (including Ottawa) 

United States 

All other foreian 



News- 
papers 

65.1% 

18.7 

5.6 

10.3 



Tele- 
vision 



CP 

"Ontario" 



45.1%c 46.4% 
36.0 36.1 



11.2 
7.5 



8.0 
9.3 



Figure 1 1 

Newspapers - Violence Conieni bv Geographic Origin 
These percentages are derived from Class II statistics, 
and therefore reflect all items in the sample containing 
primary themes of violence and/or significant 
secondary themes of violence. 



Total 



Class II Violence 



Hi2h 


Medium 


Low 




(10-6.5) 


(6-3.5) 


(3-0) 


Regional 
National* 


8 


20 


52 


U.S.* 


30 


141 


79 


Other foreien 


21.0% 


12.4% 


39.6% 


, 



Items 


Items Perc 


297 


55 18.5 


150 


92 61.3 


129 


53 41.0 


39 


15 38.4 


71 


44 61.9 



Violence content statisticallv drops in "national" and "U.S." geo- 
graphic categories due to the presence of heavy amounts of relatively 
non-violent political-governmental news. 



Figure 12 

Television - Violence Conieni bv Geographic Origin 
These percentages are derived from Class II statistics, 
and therefore reflect all items in the sample containing 
primary themes of violence and or significant 
secondary themes of violence. 

Total Class II Violence 



Local 

Regional 

National 

U.S. 

Other foreign 



Items 


Items Percentage 


54 


19 


35.1 


95 


42 


44.2 


119 


48 


40.3 


37 


15 


40.5 


25 


19 


75.0 



62 



The 297 purely local items in the sample newspaper 
had a comparatively low 18.5 per cent violence content 
in the Class II category (which includes stories with 
both primary and significant secondary violent themes). 
The picture changes dramatically, however, when we 
examine items from foreign sources other than the U.S. 
Here only 71 articles appeared in the sample, but 61.9 
per cent ol' these had at least signiticanl secondary 
violence themes. 

The case of television is even more dramatic. During 
the sample period, a mere 25 items originating at 
foreign sources other than the U.S. appeared in the 
content examined, but an extraordinary 75 per cent of 
these were assigned to the Class II vu)lence category. 

Figures 1 1 and 12 describe a situation, then, in which 
Class II violence content and geographic proximity 
relate in almost a direct ratio: violence content 
increases as distance increases. On the other hand, 
distance and the percentage of content share an equally 
evident inverse ratio: the greater the distance away 
from the point of publication or broadcast, the smaller 
the allotted share of available news space/time. An 
apparent discrepancy between these statements of ratios 
and the actual statistics presented in Figures 1 1 and 12 



appears in which total content increases at the national 
level, the middle geographic classification range, while 
violence content tends to decrease, reversing the 
described trends. This reversal is due to the presence in 
the news-flow system of large amounts of comparatively 
non-violent political news from Ottawa which, for 
convenience, has been classified as national content. 
When this specialized content is removed, the statistical 
ratios hold true as previously described. 

It may be a truism, but it is characteristic of human 
nature to view with mistrust, and even fear, those 
people, places and things which are far away, and 
therefore strange and unfamiliar. It may be nothing 
more than this understandable (if not always desirable) 
human trait which is reflected in editorial decisions that 
seem to place emphasis upon violence in the selection of 
stories from remote places. There is nothing in our data 
to suggest any diflferenl explanation. 

What is evident from the data is that the overall 
content of foreign wire-services entering Canada 
contains, in itself, no greater or lesser a percentage of 
violent content than do the Canadian Press output wires 
or, for that matter, the newspaper pages and television 
newscasts we examined. There does seem to be a 



Figure 13 








Canadian Press — Violence Conlcnl 


Siimnhir] 


cp "A" Wire 




Total 








Items 


Inches 


May 19 




98 


1,411 


May 26 




83 


1,058 


May 28 




93 


1,293 


Total of 




274 


3,762 


three days 








Percentages of totals 






CP "Ontario" 


Wire 


Total 








Items 


Inches 


May 19 




91 


755 


May 26 




107 


913 


May 28 




101 


921 


Total of 




299 


2,589 


three davs 









Violence in 




Class I 




Items 


Inches 


14 


180 


14 


129 


19 


236 


47 


545 



14.4 



Violence in 




Class 1 




Items 


Inches 


9 


36 


25 


139 


11 


99 


45 


274 



Violence in 




Class 11 




Items 


Inches 


27 


333 


34 


379 


40 


531 


101 


1,243 



36.8 



33.0 



Violence in 




Class II 




Items 


Inches 


28 


172 


44 


327 


34 


312 


106 


811 



Percentages of total 



15.0 



10.5 



35.4 



31.3 



63 



process, however, whereby the gatekeepers at each stage 
in the news-flow select or "distill out", as it were, the 
violence content forwarded by the gatekeepers at the 
previous stage. Canadian Press gatekeepers, for 
instance, tend to select a percentage of violence 
elements from the Associated Press material they 
receive from New York considerably greater than the 
actual presence of violence content in the ap wire. To 
complete the chain, newspapers and television stations 
at the "retail" level tend further to choose the violence 
elements, especially in remote foreign material, from the 
wire content they receive from Canadian Press. (Figures 
13 and 14 compare violence levels in Associated Press 
and Canadian Press content. These tables can be read 
in comparison with Figures 1 1 and 12. describing 
violence content by geographic origin in the retail 
media.) 

One final curiosity in the violence by geographic 
origins tables (Figures 1 1 and 12) is the rapid increase in 
the statistical presence of violence as one moves from 
the local to the regional levels of geographic item 
classification. This is especialh pronounced in the 
newspaper sample in which Class II violence moves 
from an 18.5 per cent presence at the local level to 61.3 
per cent at the regional level. (Local was defined for 



classification purposes as being within the municipal 
boundaries of the subject medium, including undate- 
lined material from the immediate ex-urban area 
surrounding the municipality. Regional was defined as 
all other Ontano material, excluding Ottawa.) 

We could identify no statistical explanations for this 
phenomenon from the data, though we can. with some 
hesitation, offer a suggestion which presents interesting 
possibilities for future research. Most newspapers and 
television stations maintain a fairly extensive list of 
people serving as news contacts - described as 
"stringers" in the jargon of the trade - who live in ex- 
urban and regional communities within roughly a 50- 
mile radius of the centre of publication/broadcast. Such 
individuals rarely are trained journalists, and usually 
work on a part-time basis. They tend to do rather a 
perfunctory job of work, covering crime, accidents, 
criminal trials, and other such highly visible and 
frequently violent happenings as these occur in their 
communities. This possible factor, along with the 
demonstrated phenomenon of the increase in violence 
content with distance, may explain the extraordinarily 
high violence levels in the regional classification of our 
sample, especially in the case of newspapers. 



Figure 14 
















Associated Press — 


Violence Content 


Summary for Two 


-Day Sample 
















Violence in 




Violence in 








Total 




Class I 




Class 11 








Items 


Inches 


Items 


Inches 


Items 


Inches 


May 26 




120 


931 


16 


109 


37 


308 


May 28 




128 


851 


23 


158 


60 


372 


Total of 




248 


1,782 


39 


267 


97 


680 


two days 
















Percentages 


of tota! 


Is 




15,7 


14.9 


39.1 


38.1 



64 



Chapter Five 

Tables Summarizing Newspaper 
and Television Data 



Table 1 

Newspapers ■ 



Summarv of Content of Three-Day Sample 











Violence in 




Violence 


in 






Total 




Class I 




Class II 






Date 


Items 


Inches ' 


Items 


Inches 


Items 


Inches 


London 


May 19 


29 


221 


3 


16 


10 


80 


Free Press 


May 26 


44 


287 


6 


37 


23 


138 




May 28 


37 


241 


6 


39 


13 


84 




Totals 


110 


749 


15 


92 


46 


302 


Globe 


May 19 


26 


243 


3 


25 


8 


61 


and Mail 


May 26 


32 


313 


8 


75 


16 


139 




May 28 


55 


337 


9 


39 


29 


172 




Totals 


113 


893 


20 


139 


53 


372 


North Bay 


May 19 


31 


207 


2 


4 


13 


80 


Nugget 


May 26 


37 


287 


3 


8 


10 


54 




May 28 


31 


272 


7 


37 


13 


98 




Totals 


99 


766 


12 


49 


36 


232 


Hamilton 


May 19 


41 


388 


7 


68 


15 


172 


Spectator 


May 26 


42 


440 


15 


144 


24 


230 




May 28 


48 


416 


15 


95 


26 


294 




Totals 


131 


1.244 


37 


307 


65 


606 


Toronto 


May 19 


39 


356 


5 


32 


12 


102 


Star 


May 26 


44 


357 


13 


83 


18 


143 




May 28 


47 


415 


9 


63 


18 


187 




Totals 


130 


1,128 


27 


178 


48 


432 


Kingston 


May 19 


37 


317 


4 


16 


9 


59 


Whig- 


May 26 


30 


287 


3 


32 


3 


32 


Standard 


May 28 


36 


347 


6 


71 


13 


180 




Tiitals 


103 


951 


13 


119 


25 


271 



65 



Table 2 

Television — Summarv of Content of Three-Day Sample 



CTV 



Global 



CBLT 



CFTO 



CFPL 



CHCH 



C KWS 









Violence in 




Violence in 






Total 




Class 1 




Class 11 




Date 


Items 


Seconds 


Items 


Seconds 


Items 


Secon 


May 19 


20 


315 


5 


60 


9 


125 


May 26 


19 


689 


4 


85 


9 


219 


May 28 


15 


1,471 


2 


72 


6 


566 


Totals 


54 


2.475 


11 


217 


24 


910 


Mav 19 


15 


1,154 


1 


15 


8 


449 


Mas 26 


12 


1,206 


2 


62 


8 


535 


May 28 


18 


1,113 


3 


152 


7 


446 


Totals 


45 


3,473 


6 


229 


23 


1.430 


Mav 19 


17 


1.528 


5 


191 


9 


481 


Mav 26 


15 


1,348 


5 


212 


6 


357 


May 28 


17 


1,423 


6 


571 


13 


1.224 


Totals 


49 


4.299 


16 


974 


28 


2,062 


Mav 19 


11 


1,093 


1 


15 


2 


117 


Mav 26 


11 


1.164 


5 


534 


5 


534 


May 28 


13 


997 


6 


402 


9 


564 


Totals 


35 


3,254 


12 


951 


16 


1,215 


Mav 19 


14 


710 


6 


210 


6 


210 


May 26 


12 


820 


3 


140 


4 


270 


May 28 


11 


1,010 


6 


570 


7 


680 


Totals 


37 


2,540 


15 


920 


17 


1,160 


Mav 19 


9 


678 


3 


85 


6 


350 


Mav 26 


8 


703 








1 


127 


May 28 


12 


669 


3 


132 


5 


195 


Totals 


29 


2.050 


6 


217 


12 


672 


May 19 


15 


1,367 


3 


164 


4 


394 


May 26 


17 


1.187 


5 


154 


6 


181 


May 28 


15 


1,100 


2 


77 


5 


347 


Totals 


47 


3,654 


10 


395 


15 


922 


Mav 19 


12 


1,191 


2 


51 


6 


626 


May 26 


10 


1,234 


1 


45 


5 


635 


May 28 


12 


1,159 


1 


35 


1 


35 


Totals 


34 


3,584 


4 


131 


12 


1.296 



66 



Chapter Six 

Conclusions and Recommendations 



Probably the most striking phenomenon in the Ontario 

news-flow system is the dominant gatekeeping position 
of the Canadian Press. The news cooperative has been 
described as "one of the most overlooked institutions in 
Canadian life. Like the purloined letter, it is so much in 
view that it is not seen."* The ubiquitous presence of the 
Canadian Press is inevitably limited to the modest (rp) 
logo introducing published news items supplied by the 
news agency, and in television, even this small signature 
disappears. By tradition and convention, broadcast 
journalists rarely give tribute to the producers of news 
they do not prepare themselves. Most publishers and 
station owners, and their editors and news directors, are 
quite content with < p"s low public profile; they would 
prefer to emphasize the unique things their media 
produce, not the commonly shared elements. 

Clearly, however, the significance of Canadian Press 
in the provincial news-flow system makes a higher 
degree of public awareness of the cooperative and the 
nature of its assigned tasks desirable. Although cp does 
a thoroughly competent job of moving news infor- 
mation through the province, and of bringing the world 
into Ontario, there are problems. 

In the first place, with 104 and 100 items datelined at 
Ottawa and Toronto respectively out of a total three- 
day output of 573 Items in the combined product of the 
cooperative's "A" and "Ontario" wires, there seems to 
be an undue emphasis placed upon activities in these 
two centres ( Figure 1 ). Obviously the affairs of the 
federal government, which provide the bulk of the 
Ottawa content, and the business, cultural and 
provincial government information of the Toronto 
content are extremely important. But it is worrisome 
that this bulk of information is transmitted at the 
apparent expense of information generated in other 
parts of Canada. That in these extraordinary times 
Quebec should have only 1 1 datelined stories moved in 
{ p's Ontario wires during a three-day period, compared 
to 104 Ottawa items, is a matter of some concern. No 
less a matter of concern is the fact that during the same 
sample period, Calgary, Saskatoon. Winnipeg. St. John, 
Halifax, Charlottetown, London, Ontario, and any 
number of other important Canadian communities were 



present in the Canadian Press content of the Ontario 
news flow on only four or fewer occasions, cp's nerve 
centre, its major national newsroom, is in Toronto, and 
this may explain the dominant position that city enjoys, 
not only in the provincial news flow, but in the national 
one as well, as the content of the nationally transmitted 
"A" wire demonstrates. With the exception of the large 
Ottawa staff, very few rp staff members originate news 
stories: generally the cooperative's journalists rewrite 
and transmit stories generated by other people. This 
may explain the tendency of the news service to 
emphasize its own Ottawa material. 

Whatever reasons may lie behind the Toronto - 
Ottawa domination of cp content, our data demon- 
strates the heavy emphasis on these two cities. While 
both have great importance in our national life, never- 
theless there is a serious imbalance evident which must 
do damage to the cause of national unity. 

Canadian Press also has a heavy responsibility as the 
major importer of foreign news into Canada. Ideally, we 
would like to see more news importers, more gatek- 
eepers, and therefore more views of the rest of the world 
coming into the country. For the present time, however, 
the major responsibility lies with cp; there could be 
improvements. 

At the very least, cp could establish news bureaus at a 
number of strategic geographic locations around the 
world. At present, ( p's continuing foreign presence, 
represented by journalists who are Canadian citizens, is 
limited to New York, Washington and London. We 
would like to see more foreign bureaus with stafl" 
members doing two things: reporting on happenings 
important to Canadians, of course, but also doing the 
sort of work ( F''s New York office does now, gathering 
local national wire-service content, but from a 
Canadian perspective: feeding budgets into cp's 
Toronto office from content edited by people who view 
the world with Canadian eyes. Although cp and its 
member newspapers do not have the financial resources 
to establish a Canadian equivalent to the Associated 
Press, more could certainly be done to Canadianize the 
flow of foreign news into the country. 

In this vein, we feel the burden need not be cp's 



67 



alone. Several Canadian newspapers and the Canadian 
Broadcasting Corporation already maintain foreign 
correspondents whose work usually enters the shared cp 
news pool. But more newspapers and newspaper chains 
could be involved. The profitable London Free Press 
mamtains no foreign bureaus, for instance, and the 
Southam. FP and Thomson newspaper chains do very 
little in the way of foreign reporting. 

The primary concern of this study has to do with the 
presence of violence in the provincial news-flow system, 
and the balance of these concluding comments is 
directed toward this matter. 

Clearly, the phenomenon demonstrated by our data 
that violence content increases with geographic distance 
should be bothersome to all gatekeepers in the Ontario 
news-flow system. We can only suggest, as our data 
indicates, that if most editors find 18.5 per cent of local 
news to be violent (a worrisome enough statistic in 
itself), then surely human beings going about their 
ordinary business in more remote parts of the world 
cannot be generating violent news to a 61.9 per cent 
level (Figure 11). Gatekeepers in the system should 
make some eff'ort to balance this unrealistic percentage 
in the foreign news they process. Canadian Press, as the 
major news importer m the system, might be urged not 
only to balance its "budgets" by including a greater 
proportion of useful foreign news, but to clear the 
clutter of low-prominence violence stories from its 
domestic content as well. A traffic fatality in Orillia, 
Ottawa or Orono is a personal and pnvate tragedy for 
the individuals involved, but does it deserve a place in 
the very restricted transmission time of the "Ontano" 
wire? 

Finally, there is the question of the violence levels in 
the content of the retail media at the local level. 
According to our sample, newspapers show 18.5 per 
cent of newsworthy happenings in their immediate 
communities to be of a violent nature; television 
stations, 35.1 per cent (Figures 11 and 12). The answer 
must be a subjective one, but in our view, the levels 
seem somewhat unrealistic. 



68 



Endnotes 

1. Schramm, Wilbur, "The Gatekeeper: A Memorandum" in 
Mass Communications. Wilbur Schramm, ed. (Urbana, 111.: 
The University of Illinois Press, I960). 

2. Some examples of related research and methodologies are 
offered in a selective bibliography appended to this report. 

3. Problems of sample size in content analysis are treated in 
Budd, Richard W., Robert K. Thorp and Lewis Donohew, 
Content Analysis of Communications (New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1967). p. 16. 

4. The idea of utilizing a numerical prominence value scale was 
suggested by Professor Benjamin Singer of the University of 
Western Ontario. The index used in this study is evolved from 
one developed by Professor Singer in a study of the treatment 
of several ethnic minority groups In a sample of Canadian 
newspapers. (Unpublished at this date.) 

5. For an excellent description of cp's history and organization, 
see Cummings, Carman, "The Canadian Press: A Force for 
Consensus?" Journalism. Communication and the Law. G. 
Stuart Adam. ed. (Toronto: Prentice-Hall of Canada Limjted. 
1976). pp.86- 103. 

6. Osier. Andrew M.. "A Descriptive Study of the Perceptions 
and Attitudes Among Journalists in Ontario", in Ontario, The 
Royal Commission on Violence in the Communications 
Industry, Report, vol. 7. The Media Industries: From Hereto 
Where? {ToTonlo. 1977). 

7. Column inches measurements in this study have not been 
standardized to allow for small variations from one paper to 
another in column widths and type sizes. Where column inch 
comparisons are made, therefore, they are expressed as 
percentages of available news space. 

8. Cumming, Carman, op. cit.. p. 86. 



69 



Appendix A 

A Selected Bibliography 



Books and Government Publications 

Adam, G. Stuart, Journalism. Communicalion and the Law. 
Toronto, Prentice-Hall of Canada Limited, 1976. 

Canada. Senate. Special Committee on Mass Media, Report. 3 
vols. (Ottawa; Queen's Printer, 1970). 

Canada, Task Force on Government Information, Report. 2 vols. 
Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1969. 

Hohenberg, John, The News Media: A Journalist Looks at His 

Profession. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, I%8. 

Utvack. Isiah and Christopher Maule, Cultural Sovereignty: 
The Time and Reader's Digest Case in Canada. Toronto: 
Burns and MacEachern, 1974. 

MacDonald, Dick, ed. The Media Game. Montreal: Content 
Publishing, 1972. 

Rivers. William L.. Theodore Peterson and Jay W. Jenson. The 
.Mass Media and .Modern Society. 2nd ed. San Francisco: 
Holt. Rinehart and Winston, 1971. 

Singer, Benjamin D.. ed. Communications in Canadian Society, 
Toronto: Copp Clark, 1975. 

Works on Content Analysis and Methodology 

Budd. Richard W.. Robert K. Thorp and Lewis Donohew. 
Content Analysis of Communications. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1967. 

Holsti, Ole R., Content Analysis for the Social Sciences and 
Humanities. Toronto: Addison-Wesley Publishing 
Company, 1969. 

Nafziger, Ralph O. and David M. White, eds.. Introduction to 
Mass Communications Research. Baton Rouge, La,: 
I.X)uisiana State University Press. 1973. 

Articles 

Bruce, Jean. "A Content Analysis of Thirty Canadian Daily 
Newspapers Published During the Penod January 1 - March 
31, 1965. with a Comparative Study of Newspapers 
Published in 1960 and 1965". Research Report for The 
Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturahsm. 
Ottawa: Public Archives, 1966. 

Gordon. Donald R. "National News in Canadian 

Newspapers". Research report for The Royal Commission 
on Bilingualism and Biculturahsm. Ottawa: Public Archives, 
1965. 

Osier, Andrew M. "A Descriptive Study of the Perceptions and 
Attitudes Among Journalists in Ontario." in Ontano. The 
Royal Commission on Violence in the Communications 
Industry, Report, vol. 7, The Media Industries: From Here to 
Where^ToroMo, 1977). 

Merrill, John C. "The Image of the United States in Ten 

Mexican DiiWes." Journalism Quarterly, vol. 37 (1960), no. 3, 
pp. 203-209. 

Lemert. James B. "Content Duplication by Networks in 
Competing Evening Newscasts." Journalism Quarterly, vol, 

51, pp. 238-244, 1974. 

Sasser, Emery L. and John T. Russell. "The Fallacy of News 



Judgement." Journalism Quarterly, vol. 49, (1972), pp. 280 - 

284. 
Cutlip, Scott S. "Content and Flow of aP News - from Trunk 

to TTS Reader." Journalism Quarterly, vol. 31 { 1954), pp. 

434-446. 
Schramm, Wilbur. "Newspapers of a State as a News 

Network." Journalism Quarterly, vol. 35 (1958), pp. 177-182. 



70 



Economic Determinants 
of Violence 
in Television and 
Motion Pictures 
and the 

Implications of 
Newer Technologies 



Hugh H. Edmunds 
John Stride 



The Centre for Canadian 
Communication Studies 
University of Windsor 
Windsor, Ontario 



Principal Investigators 

Prof. Hugh H. Edmunds 
Department of Communication Studies 
University of Windsor 

Dr. John C. Strick 
Department of Economics 
University of Windsor 

Investigators 

Miss Monica Schouten 
Research 

Mrs. Doreen Truant 
Research and Stenography 



Contents 

Chapter I Introduction Page 76 

2 Feature Film 77 

A Economic Factors in the Production of Feature Films 77 

1. Market Size 77 

2. The Film Industry's Assessment of Market Demand 77 

3. The Film Production Budget 8 

a) The Stars and Cast g 

b) Sets and Physical Properties 8 

c) Stories and Scripts 8 

d) Studio Overhead 8 

4. Costs of Production, Revenues, and Film Content 8 

a) Some Economic Principles of Production 8 

b) Film Themes, Costs, and Revenues 82 

B Film Production in Canada 84 

1. Size of Industry 84 

2. Co-Productions 85 

3. Role of thecFDC : 86 

C Motion Picture Distributional Infrastructure in Canada 88 

D Motion Picture Theatres in Canada 90 

1. Some Trends 90 

2. Major Exhibitors 92 

E Demographicsof Motion Picture Audiences 93 

1. United States 93 

2. Canada 94 

F Summary of Chapter 2 95 

3 Television 97 

A Network Programming and Program Production in the United 

States 97 

1. Economic Factors in Network Programming 97 

2. Classification of Network Pnme-time Programs 98 

3. Diversity in Network Programming 98 

4. Homogeneity of Network Schedules 100 

5. Stability in Network Programming 108 

6. Costs. Ratings, and Revenues of Television Programs 108 

7. Other Facets of Production and Programming 118 

a) The Production Process 118 

b) The Family Hour 119 

c) Program Strategy 119 

d) Production Techniques 120 

e) Violent Programs and Advertisers 120 

B Canadian Television Programming. Program Production and 

Audiences I2I 

1. Factors Influencing Canadian Programming 121 

2. Characteristics of Network Programming 125 

3. Production and Distribution of Canadian Television Programs ... 131 

4. Television Programming and Advertising 132 



73 



5. Characteristics of Canadian Television Audiences Page 132 

C Summary of Chapter 3 136 

4 Cable and Pay-TV 139 

A Broadcasting Receiving Undertakings (Cable) 139 

1. Cable Basics 139 

2. Technology 139 

3. Economics of Cable 140 

4. Impact of Cable on Canadian Broadcasting 141 

a) Economic Impact 14! 

b) Impact of Cable on the Audience 141 

5. Recent Developments 142 

B Pav-TV 142 

1. A Short History of Pay-TV 142 

2. The Current U.S. Pay-TV System 143 

3. Programming on Pay Cable in the U.S 145 

4. Pay-per-program Pay-TV 146 

a) Technology of Pay-per-program 146 

b) Programming on Pay-per-program 148 

5. Pay-TV in Canada 151 

C Summary of Chapter 4 156 

5 The State of the Art - Newer Technologies 157 

A Introduction 157 

B Storage Systems 158 

1. New Videotape Formats 158 

2. Videodiscs 159 

a) Videodisc Systems 159 

b) Videodisc Economics 161 

c) Programming 162 

3. Digital Storage Devices 164 

4. Video Games 164 

5. Summary 164 

C Delivery Systems 165 

1. Introduction 165 

2. Two-wav Cable 165 

3. Optic Fibre 167 

a) The Japanese Field Trial 167 

b) Other Recent Applications 168 

c) Implications to Content 168 

4. Satellites and the Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) 168 

a) Domestic Satellites 168 

b) The Direct Broadcast Satellite 169 

5. Multi-point Distribution System (mds) 170 

6. Laser 170 

7. Summary 170 

D Exhibition 170 

1. Big Screen 170 

2. Stereophonic Sound 170 

3. Holography 171 



74 



4. Summary Paee 171 

E Summary of Chapter 5 171 

6 Conclusions and Recommcndatiuns 172 

A Conclusions 172 

B. Recommendations 175 

Endnotes I77 

Bibliography Igl 



75 



Chapter One 

Introduction 



Violence in feature films and television programs is well 
entrenched, and appears to have become more 
widespread and explicit over the past several years. It 
would appear that reasonably favourable audience 
reception to the violence theme, combined with various 
other factors, has encouraged producers of film and 
producers and programmers in television to focus on 
violence. This study attempts to identify and analyze 
economic factors in the feature film and television 
media as they pertam to content, with particular 
reference to the presentation of violence. Among the 
variables examined are market size, proximity of 
markets, producers" perception of market demand, costs 
of production and their relation to themes and format, 
revenues, the nature and features of the industnes, 
distribution and exhibition infra-structures, and 
audience demographics. 

In the study, the film and television industries in both 
Canada and the U.S. are examined. Particular attention 
is focused on the interaction of the two markets, 
highlighting the dominance of U.S. film and television 
in the Canadian market, the economic basis of this 
dominance, and its influence on Canadian audiences, 
the film industry, and television programmmg. Most of 
the feature films exhibited in Canadian theatres are 
U.S.-produced. U.S.-produced television programs are 
shown on, and strongly influence. Canadian television. 
and these programs and feature films predominate on 
cable in this country. Any study of content determi- 
nants in films and television in Canada cannot treat this 
country in isolation. Determinants of content in film 
and television in Canada can be traced primarily to the 
determinants of content in the U.S. Consequently, a 
considerable portion of this study deals with film and 
television program production in the U.S.. together with 
the pattern of television programming in that country. 

Feature film is examined in Chapter 2 and television 
in Chapter 3. In these chapters, the factors which 
influence film and television program production, with 
particular reference to violent content, are examined. 
Assertions have been made that violence is the cheapest 
(most efficient) formal for successfully attracting 
audiences, relative to costs of production. This question 



is examined for both feature film and television 
programs. Costs of production and revenues of violent 
and non-violent films are analyzed to determine 
whether a correlation exists between film theme, costs 
and revenues. The state and constraints of the Canadian 
film and television program production industries are 
also examined, together with the distribution and 
exhibition infrastructures. Particular attention is given 
to the determinants of television network programming 
in the U.S., including costs of producing various types 
of programs, ratings, the oligopoly games that the 
networks practise and the resulting homogeneity and 
lack of diversity in program schedules, and the conse- 
quent eff'ects on Canadian television. 

Chapter 4 reviews the development of cable and 
possible introduction of pay-TV in Canada and the 
extensiveness of their rise, and analyzes the implications 
to producers and content of film and programs and to 
the traditional delivers systems. 

In Chapter 5 some of the more recent technical 
innovations in the recording of programs, their delivery 
systems and means of exhibiting them are detailed, 
together with their possible future impact on. and impli- 
cations for. the Canadian broadcasting system. This 
chapter also attempts to draw together in one source 
fairly comprehensive information concerning the broad 
range of technical innovations and possible .social 
consequences in a larger sense than just violent 
themes, since this tvpe of information is generally 
lacking or diflScult to assemble. 

Conclusions and policy recommendations for 
reducing the degree of violence in film and television 
are presented in Chapter 6. 



76 



Chapter Two 

Feature Film 



A. Economic Factors in the Production of Feature Film 

/. Market Size 

Canada represents a relatively small market lor film. 
Comparing domestic markets, the market for theatrical 
film in Canada is only approximately one tenth as large 
as the U.S. market. In 1974, American film rental 
billings in the U.S. market totalled $ 545.9 million, 
compared to total theatrical rental billings in Canada of 
$59.9 millu)n (of which $54.4 million was American 
billings). In 1975, worldwide theatrical rentals of 
American films totalled $1.2 billion, of which $63.2 
million came from film rentals in Canada. On this basis 
Canada represents approximately 5 per cent of the total 
U.S. domestic and foreign market. However, for both 
1974 and 1975, Canada was the top foreign market for 
U.S. films and the rentals for 1975 had increased 16 per 
cent from the record level established in 1974. 

Given the relatively small market in Canada, it is 
highly unlikely that a feature film will recoup its costs, 
let alone earn a profit to finance future productions, if 
distribution is restricted to the Canadian market. On the 
basis of 355 U. S. feature films distributed in Canada in 
1974 for a total of $54.4 million, the average rental for a 
film of the Hollywood format and standard is approxi- 
mately $153,000, of which the producer may receive 
anywhere from 50 to 75 per cent depending on the 
producer/distributor arrangement. Given that the cost 
of Canadian films ranges from roughly $100,000 (very 
few at this price) to over $1 million and appears to 
average between $500,000 and $600,000,' it is almost 
impossible for a Canadian film to cover costs of 
production if distribution is limited to the domestic 
market, except in the case of an exceptionally successful 
film produced on a low budget. A $700,(X)0 gross-box 
office in the dt)mestic market is respectable and it takes 
an exceptional film to do better. ' Even a film such as 
The Apprenticeship of DiicJdy Kravitz. which earned 
approximately $2 million in the domestic market and 
placed among the top 25 money-makers in Canada in 
1975. could not cover costs of production from 
domestic box-office returns. In Table 2-1 an estimate is 
made of the returns to the producer for a number of the 
more successful Canadian films in recent years. As is 



shown, only an exceptionally successful film will 
produce enough at the domestic box-office to cover 
costs of production, and only then if the film has been 
produced at a moderate cost. 

It is estimated, on the basis of what appears to be the 
most common exhibitor/distributor and 
distributor/producer arrangements as explained in 
Table 2-1, that the ratio of gross box-office returns to 
costs of production must be approximately 6 to I to 
cover the costs of producing a film.-' 

It is obvious that the film industry in Canada, if it is 
to develop and be successful, must look to foreign 
markets. Producer Harry Gulkin (Lies My Father Told 
Me) correctly evaluated this situation when he slated: 

In a country as small as Canada, film has to be regarded as an 
export commodity. You can't make your money back in the 
Canadian market alone on a picture with a normal budget of 
any kind. Consequently, films which reflect the inner life of our 
country in a way which interests only Canadians can't make 
their money back in the Canadian market, and this has been 
characteristic of many Canadian films.'' 

Consequently, with an eye on the large American 
market, successful Canadian producers have attempted 
to follow the Hollywood formula for films. If the 
successful formula for low-budget pictures (to which 
Canadian producers are for the most part restricted) is 
violence, sex, and horror, then economic realities dictate 
that Canadian producers follow this format. 

2. The Film I ndustrv's Assessment of Market Demand 
The film industry is a commercial enterprise in which 
the entrepreneurs involved (producer, distributor, and 
exhibitor) expect a return, which depends on the 
marketability of the product and the size of the market. 
The ultimate key to success is the marketplace and the 
ability to assess public tastes and demands and produce 
a product that satisfies them. If the public is not inter- 
ested in a film, or cannot be induced to view it, that film 
will fail commercially, regardless of its artistic or 
technical qualities. 

In an annual edition, the trade paper Variety 
publishes a list of all films whose rentals have exceeded 
$4 million. A survey of the more successful films in 



77 



Table 2-1 

Slalisrics on Some Recent Canadian-made Films 



Title 



Approximate 
Cost of 
Production 


Canadian 
Box-office 
Gross 


Weeks in 
Distribution 


Estimated 
Return to 
Producer" 


$ 


$ 




$ 


1.200,000 


650.000 


38 


113,750 


350.000 


535.000 


96 


93.625 


910,000 


1.900.000 


65 


332,500 


650.000 


1,600,000 


53 


280,000 


500.000 + 


1.000.000 


20 


175,000 


200.000 


800.000 


35 


140,000 


300.000- 
600.000 


550.000 


52 


96.250 


114.000 


625,000 


40 


109.375 



Lies Mv Father Told Me 

My Pleasure Is My Business 

Duddy Kravitz 

Black Christmas 

Shadow of the Hawk 

Shivers 

Death Weekend 

Recomendation for Mercy 

"Assuming a 65-35 exhibitor distributor arrangement and a 50-50 producer/distributor arrangement. Under such arrangements the ratio of box-office 
returns to returns to the producer would have to be approximately 5.7 to 1 to cover costs of production (excluding any taxes). 
Source: Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association, and Varieiy. Nov. 24. 1976, p. 32. 



terms of rentals reveals a large variety of themes, which 
include spectacular events (biblical, military, disaster, et 
cetera), music, comedy, terror-suspense, sexuality, 
violence, romance, adventure, and the supernatural. 
Depending on a variety of factors, including the story, 
the script, the director, the actors, the artistic quality, 
and the time of release, it would appear that financially 
successful movies can be made on any of these themes. 
Some themes have been more popular at times than 
others, as public tastes and preferences change 
(reflecting changing social conditions and values) or as 
a particular film breaks new ground in its presentation 
of a theme and finds instant appeal, to be followed by a 
succession of "copies" of this new^ format (i.e. the 
disaster films following /) iVyo/r and The Poseidon 
Adventure, graphic violence as in The Godfather, sexual 
liberation as in Deep Throat and Last Tango in Paris. 
etc.), or sequels {Airport, and Airport 75 a.nd Airport 77). 
It would appear, however, that sequels of a movie are. 
as a general rule, not as successful as the first version 
and are frequently more expensive. Consider the 
following examples; Godfather I cost $6 million and 
grossed $86 million in rentals, while Godfather II cost 
$15 million and grossed approximately $29 million in 
rentals; French Connection I grossed $27.5 million in 
rentals while French Connection II grossed only $5.5 
million; Airport grossed 545. 3 million in rentals. Airport 
75 grossed $25.7 million; Planet of the Apes grossed $ 1 5 
million in rentals. Escape From Planet of the Apes 
grossed $5.6 million. One notable exception was the 
James Bond series. 

It would appear that, in the past several years, film 
themes of violence, sexuality, and terror/suspense have 



appealed to movie-goers sufficiently enough and 
consistentiv enough for filmmakers lo focus on these 
subjects. The trend in recent vears has been the 
production of an increasing proportion of films rated 
for a restricted audience. Films that stand out as the 
most common type produced within the restricted 
rating category have been films depicting violence or 
sex. or films combining both subjects. Family-type 
adventure films, comedies, and children's pictures, rated 
for the most part as General Audience (G). form a 
relativelv small group and have been on the decline in 
the last few years. 

Table 2-2 illustrates the annual ratings of films by the 
Motion Picture Association of America (mpaa) for the 
period 1968 to 1975. The films of both the major and 
minor studios and the independent producers are 
included. From 1968-69 to 1974-75. the number of 
Restricted (R) and X-rated films increased from 19 per 
cent of all films rated to 52 per cent. For the same 
period, the proportion of films rated General (G) fell 
steadily from 32 per cent to 13 per cent. It is also inter- 
esting to note that the independent producers have 
always tended toward the sex violence exploitive types 
of film which are frequently R or X-rated; their seven- 
year cumulative average is 57 per cent in the R-X 
categories as compared to 30 per cent by the majors. In 
addition, the proportion of films produced by 
independents has increased dramatically from 16 per 
cent in 1968-69 to 64 per cent m 1974-75. 

The film classification and censor boards in Canada 
have also reported an increasing number of films rated 
similarly to the mpax rating PG. R and X. Recently the 
Bureau de Surveillance du Cinema du Quebec reported 



78 



Tabic 2-2 










MPAA Film Ratings:^ 1968-75 








G 




PG 




1968 










Majors-Minors 


120 


(32'-;) 


154 


(42%) 


Independents 


21 


(3()';) 


18 


(26%) 


Total 


141 


(32';) 


172 


(39%) 


1969 










Majors-Minors 


59 


(229;) 


109 


(40%) 


Independents 


31 


(18'?) 


46 


(27%) 


Total 


90 


(20'-;) 


155 


(35%) 


1970 










Majors- Minors 


60 


(25%) 


105 


(44%) 


Independents 


41 


(15%) 


91 


(33%) 


Total 


101 


(20%) 


196 


(28%) 


1971 










Majors-Minors 


74 


(29%) 


127 


(50%) 


Independents 


20 


( 8%) 


104 


(40%) 


Total 


94 


(19%) 


231 


(45%) 


1972 










Majors-Minors 


43 


(18%) 


112 


(47%) 


Independents 


42 


(13%) 


72 


(23%) 


Total 


85 


(16%) 


184 


(33%) 


1973 










Majors-Minors 


36 


(20%) 


88 


(50%) 


Independents 


36 


(11%) 


97 


(30%) 


Total 


72 


(14%) 


185 


(37%) 


1974 










Majors-Minors 


28 


(19%) 


67 


(44%) 


Independents 


28 


(11%) 


82 


(30%) 


Total 


56 


(13%) 


149 


(35%) 








Seven-year ( 


1975 










Majors-Minors 


420 


(25'--;) 


762 


(45%) 


Independents 


219 


(13';;) 


510 


(30'7o) 


Total 


639 


(19%) 


1,272 


(37%) 



Total 



1968-9 



1969-70 



1970-71 



1971-72 



1972-73 



1973-74 



1974-75 



81 

22 
103 


(22%) 
(31%) 
(23'-;) 


16 
9 

25 


( 4%) 
(13%) 
( 6%) 


371 

70 

441 


( 84%) 
( 16%) 
(100%) 


91 

73 
164 


(34'i) 
(42%) 
(37%) 


12 

22 
34 


( 4%) 
(13%) 
( 8%) 


271 
172 
443 


( 61%) 
( 39%) 
(100%) 


70 
100 

170 


(30%) 
(36%) 

(33%) 


3 
45 
48 


( 1%) 
(16%) 
( 9%) 


238 
277 
515 


( 46%) 
( 54%) 
(100%) 


51 

127 
178 


(50%) 
(35%) 


1 

5 
6 


( 1%) 

( 2%) 
( 1%) 


253 
256 
509 


( 50%) 
( 50%) 
(100%) 


79 
182 

261 


(33%) 
(58%) 

(47'?) 


3 

17 
20 


( 1%) 
( 5%) 
( 4%) 


237 
313 

550 


( 43%) 
( 57%) 
(100%) 


55 
177 
232 


(31%) 
(54%) 
(46%) 


2 

17 

9 


( 1%) 

( 5%) 
( 3%) 


181 
327 
508 


( 35%) 
( 65%) 
(100%) 


53 
147 

200 

75 


(35%) 
(54%) 
(48'7 ) 


3 
14 

17 


( 2%) 
( 5%) 
( 4%) 


151 

271 

422 


( 36%) 
( 64%) 
(100%) 


480 

828 
,308 


(28%) 
(49%) 
(39%) 


36 

129 
165 


( 2%) 
( 8%) 
( 5%) 


1698 

1686 

3.384 


( 50%) 
( 50%) 
(100%) 



"Raling sytihols are as follows: G— General Audiences, all ages admilled; PG— Parenlal guidance Suggested, some malenal may nol be suilable for 
children: R--Rcstricled. a person under 17 years of age must be accompanied by an adult; X — no one under 17 admitted. 

Source: Varifty, November 5. 1975. p. 36. 



that Its rating ot feature films "For .AH" declined Irom 
50 per cent ot'all features shown in the province in 1972 
to 35 per cent in 1976. Over the same period, features 
rated for "18 and over" increased from 27 per cent to 42 
per cent. In Ontario, the Theatres Branch of the 
Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations has 
also reported an increasing tendency away from family- 
type entertainment films to adult entertainment and 
restricted films. This trend is illustrated in Table 2-3. 
Between 1970-71 and 1975-76 the proportion of 
restricted Hlms increased from 19.0 per cent of the films 
received to 40.4 per cent. 



1 able 2-4 presents Ontario's classification of 
Canadian feature films. Between 1972-73 and 1975-76. 
fewer movies were made and also fewer restricted 
movies were made. It is interesting to note that a larger 
proportion of Canadian feature films were classified as 
adult entertainment and restricted, than all the other 
films received and classified bv the Ontario Board of 
Censors during this period (Table 2-3). 

Some producers have maintained that movie-goers 
today ni)t onl\ wish to be entertained but also seek to 
be emotionallv moved, excited and even shocked. They 
attempt to provide people with entertainment in 



79 



theatres that people cannot find in television. And if 
violence and death, presented in lurid and graphic 
forms, sell tickets, then presumably this is what theatre 
audiences wish to see. Consequently, movie-makers 
have turned to more violence and more sex, combined 
them, and furthermore mrxed them with content which 



has been described as "gross, crude, vile, disgust- 
ing. . . ."^ Charles Bresick. Vice-Chairman of the 
Manitoba Film Classification Board, in a recent letter to 
the editor of The Globe and Mail, reflected on this trend: 

In the si.x years I have been on the Manitoba Film Classifi- 
cation Board we viewed 2,461 films. Of these no less than half 



Table 2-3 

Ontario Classification of Feature Films: Selected Years: 1970-71 to 1975-76 





1970-71 


1 


1972-73 


1974-7f 


i 


1975-76 


Classification 


No. 


% 


No. 


% 


No. 


% 


No. 


% 


General Exhibition 


270 


37.1 


195 


27.9 


165 


20.0 


168 


20.0 


Adult Entertainment 
(parental guidance advised) 


233 


32.0 


280 


40.0 


321 


39.0 


326 


38.8 


Restricted 

(no one under the 

age of 18 admitted) 


211 


29.0 


213 


30.5 


332 


40.3 


339 


40.4 


Not Approved 
Total 


14 

728 


1.9 
100.0 


11 
699 


1.6 
100.0 


6 
824 


.7 
100.0 


7 
840-' 


.8 
100.0 



^Does not include 12 pending classifications. 

Source: Theatres Branch. Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. 



Table 2-4 

Ontario Classification of Canadian Feature Films 



Classification 


1972-73 






No. 


% 


General Exhibition 
Adult Entertainment 
Restricted 


1 

8 

13 


4.5 
36.4 
59.1 


Total 


22 


100.0 



1974-75 

No. 

3 

8 

10 

21 



% 

14.3 
38.1 

47.6 

100.0 



1975-76 

No. 

3 

7 
7 

17 



% 

17.6 
41.2 
41.2 

100.0 



-f Theatres Branch. Minisirs of Consumer and Commercial Relations. 



were of the l>pe that menl a Restricted classificalion. Among 
these we have seen a hundred times over ever) possible variety 
of nude simulated sex acts, including acts of sodomy and 
necrophilia_We have seen countless rape scenes portrayed in 
the most sadistic and vicious manner. We have seen a 
thousand times over people being tortured and killed in every 
possible way the mind of man can devise, including that of 
having heads jammed in toilet bowls. We have had to listen to 
the same stream of profanitv and foul language in film after 
film. We have seen people spitting on other people; people 
vomiting over other people . . . current film makers in their 
obsession with scatology have shown men and women sitting 
on toilet seats and other lavatory scenes in no less than 400 
movies . . . the high point was reached when they showed a 
young man in a high school class urinating out of the window 
on lop of some girls playing in (he school yard outside . . . .' 



Of course, not all producers have this assessment of the 
markets for film. It is interesting to note that at the time 
when more sex, violence, and what might be termed 
vulgarity were being introduced to the movies, the film 
Love Storv went in the opposite direction. Howard 
Minskv. who put Love Storv together, in describing his 
efforts explained how he "bought a property that was so 
bad. William Morris, the largest talent agency wouldn't 
handle [it]," and had writer Erich Segal "rewrite the 
script nine times," removing "the nudity, sex and four- 
letter words." He went on to say: "We showed it to 
every studio and producer in town. No one would touch 
it. They told me I was insane. But I knew we had an 
honest, old-fashioned love story, one that didn't need 
sex and violence."" The success of Love Story is well 
known. 



80 



Walt Disney Productions has for the most part stayed 
with the production of family entertainment films. 
There is evidence that a few other small, independent 
producers have recently determined that a market does 
exist for family films, not in large cities, but in small and 
medium-si/.e cities and small towns. For example, Doty- 
Dav'lon-Productions, a small Hollywood company, has 
turned out five movies in four years, all profitable, 
following the themes and formats of Disney movies. 
Producer Lyman Dayton maintains that "there is an 
audience out there that is getting tired of sex scenes and 
gutter language. There is a need for more family fikris."* 
His films deal with pioneer-children stories and 
adventure stones with a moral theme designed to 
entertain rather than shock, generate fear, or excite. 
They contain no profanity or bloodshed, have been 
made on low-cost budgets but have attracted audiences 
and have been box office succes.ses. For example. Seven 
Alone, a movie about orphans struggling to survive on 
the Oregon Trail, cost $500,000 and reportedly grossed 
approximately $12 million.'' 

3. The Film Production Budget 
Many factors affect the costs of film production and 
result in either a low- or high-budget motion picture. 
Among these are the following: 

a) The Stars and Cast. The more star performers in 
the picture, the greater the cost. For example, in the 
star-studded picture The Towering Inferno. Paul 
Newman and Steve McQueen reportedly each received 
$1 million (plus a percentage of gross rentals).'" For 
their parts in Missouri Breaks. Marlon Brando received 
SI. 2 million and Jack Nicholson received $1 million 
(and each was to receive 10 per cent of gross receipts in 
excess of $10 million)." 

Given that the current average cost per feature film in 
the U.S. is approximately $3 million, the payments to 
the two main actors in each of the above films almo.st 
equalled the budgets of the average film. 

b) Sets and Other Physical Properties. Extensive or 
numerous set constructions can greatly add to film 
production costs. Pictures filmed on location can 
generally be made at lower cost than films shot on 
expensive sets. Set construction for a film such as Jaws 
is expensive. The ape in King Kong ( 1976) reportedly 
cost $1.7 million to construct and required a team of 20 
operators to animate. Similarly, the design and making 
of 25 difl"erent costumes for Diana Ross in Mahogany 
contributed much to the cost of that film.'- 

c) Stories and Scripts. The cost of stories on which 
films are based vary. The acquisition of the rights to a 
popular novel may be relatively costly. For example, the 
movie The Towering Inferno was adapted from two 
stones, namely: The Glass Inferno for which Twentieth 
Century Fox paid $400,000, and The Tower for which 
Warner Bros, paid $300,000. Ihe two companies then 
combined their properties in a joint production of The 



Towering Inferno.''' Scriptwriting, on the other hand, is 
not a major element in the cost of a motion picture. 
Obtaining good scripts, however, is frequently a 
problem. Good scriptwriters for certain themes, particu- 
larly comedy, appear scarce. 

d) Studio Overhead. This is a cost that must be taken 
into account whether a producer has his own studio, as 
in the case of a major, or whether he leases the studio of 
a major production or distribution company, as is the 
case with independent producers. Overhead will involve 
the cost of facilities, sets, props, personnel, et cetera that 
the studio makes available. 

Time is also an important element. Costs can 
generally be held down by shooting a film quickly. 

The average feature film production budget is divided 
as follows:''' 



Item 


%of 
Total Cost 


Story costs 

Production and direction costs 

Sets and other physical properties 

Stars and cast 

Studio overhead 

Income taxes 

Net profit after taxes 


5 

5 

35 

20 

20 

5 

10 




100 



The average cost per feature film in the U.S. has 
steadilv increased from approximateU $1,000,000 in 
1949, to $1,890,000 in 1972, to $2,500^000 in 1974.15 

4. Costs of Production. Revenues, and Film Content 

It would appear that a reasonably homogeneous taste or 
preference for violence in films exists among a sufficient 
proportion of movie-goers to generate box-office 
receipts which, in relation to costs of production, are 
generally sufl^cient to prompt movie-makers to focus on 
this theme. In this section an attempt is made to analyze 
possible relationships between costs of producing films 
and the violence content in films. 

a) Some Economic Principles of Production 
Costs are a major factor in the production and supplv of 
a good or service. If costs of production of a particular 
good are high relative to the price that good can 
cotnmand in the market, production will not be 
profitable and producers will turn, if possible, to 
substitute lower-cost goods in an attempt to meet the 
demand. In production, it is assumed that, given a 
budget, the objective of the producer is to maximize 
output subject to the budget constraint, or, if his goal is 
a given output, to minimize the costs of attaining that 
gtwl and in the process maximize his profits. In the case 
of film, the ultimate goal of filmmakers (the producer 
and financial investors) is to maximize the number of 



81 



viewers. If funding is limited, a movie-maker will 
attempt to use the funds to produce a movie which, in 
his assessment, has the greatest potential box-otfice 
draw. His choice of theme, stop, , script, performers, 
setting, et cetera should ail be determined with the 
objective of making the most attractive or marketable 
film possible within the confines of his budget and 
consequentlv maximizing the viewer/cost ratio. A small 
budget will restrict the use of stars, certain scripts 
requiring expensive set constructions, many location 
moves, long time-consuming filming, et cetera, which 
may add greatlv to costs of production, and this may 
restrict the movie-maker in his choice of themes and 
film format. 

Larger budgets may permit the movie-maker greater 
flexibility in filmmaking. But a high-budget film must be 
capable of generating a suflSciently larger audience to 
yield a rate of return to movie-makers at least equal to 
that of a low-cost film. In other words, costs of 
production per thousand viewers of a high-cost film 
should be at least equal to the cost-per-thousand of a 
low-cost film. But large-budget films do not necessarily 
ensure large audiences. Many elements are involved in 
the success of a film, including the theme, the story, the 
script, the cast, the director, and perhaps most 
important of all, its release at the right time to catch the 
public's interest. {Jaws is an example of an exceptional 
combination of content and timing.) The history of 
Hollywood IS filled with expensive and extravagant 
films which did not fulfil expectations at the box office 
(consider the example o{ Cleopatra). 

There is a great deal of risk and uncertainty 
associated with filmmaking. No producer can be certain 
of the public appeal of his film and its box-office draw. 
Film spectacles, or various stories that require large 
budgets to be translated into film, involve large amounts 
of risk capital. The uncertaintN involved may make it 
difficult to obtain the necessary finances. .And even if 
obtainable it mav be more attractive to consider the 
alternative - to produce several "lesser" films for the 
same total investment and consequently spread and 
reduce the risk factor. 

b) Film Themes. Costs, and Revenues 
There is a notable lack of good data on the film industry 
in both Canada and the United States, particularly on 
costs of producing films. Variety publishes revenues 
from film rentals (returns to the distributor) in the U.S. 
and Canada where rentals exceed $1 million, in a year- 
end anniversary edition and on a weekly basis presents 
box-office revenues of the top 50 films of the week. 
These weekly figures, however, represent only a sample 
of theatres in the U.S. Estimates of the budgets of a 
particular film may appear occasionallv in a variety of 
sources, particularly in serials and magazines relating to 
movies, and in daily newspapers and weekly magazines, 
but otherwise data on costs in the motion-picture 
industry are considered closely guarded secrets. 
In Table 2-5 a list of a sample of recently released 



motion pictures is presented.'* Costs of production are 
shown together with rental revenue (in the U.S. and 
Canada).'" In some cases rental data were not available, 
but reasonably reliable box-office figures were 
obtainable from which rental data could be estimated. 

From the data in Table 2-5 it is difficult to draw any 
meaningful correlation between, or come to any conclu- 
sions about, the nature of film violence versus non-vio- 
lence and the relevant cost and revenues. Films 
depicting violence can be produced at low or high cost 
as can non-violent films. Similarly, some films concen- 
trating on violence may gross large amounts of revenue 
while others fare poorly, and this applies to non-violent 
films as well. Many variables have a bearing on the 
relationship between the theme of a film (violent or 
non-violent) and its costs and revenues, including such 
factors as the performers, the director, the script, the 
setting, and perhaps most important of all, the story 
itself 

As seen in Table 2-5. the cost and success of films of a 
violent nature vary. The more expensive films in the list 
include Godfather. I and //. Missouri Breaks. The Odessa 
File, and Jaws. Godfather I. a film of graphic violence, 
bloodletting, and death, but also characterized by 
excellent acting and a good script, cost $6 million to 
produce and reaped rental revenues of $86 milhon, 
while its sequel Godfather //, a much more expensive 
version at S15 million, enjoyed considerably less success 
(S29 million in rentals). Jaws cost S8 million but yielded 
the highest box-office revenue and rentals in the history 
of feature film - a prime example of a movie with the 
right combination of elements for instant success. 
Missouri Breaks, at a relatively high cost of $8 million 
considering its content, showed little promise and. 
despite two star performers in Marlon Brando and Jack 
Nicholson, is not expected to recover costs. A vividly 
Molent movie in which Brando devises different means 
to kill his adversaries, its story content is thin and 
disjointed. It is understandable that when the movie 
opened in MaN 1976 in every major city in the U.S. and 
Canada, the emphasis in promotion was on the two 
stars. 

The Oddessa File, a British-German production, at a 
cost of $4,500,000, and Doc Savage, with a budget of $3 
million (up from the original budget of $1.5 million), 
have shown little promise. On the other hand, 
.Mahogany, "a reincarnated Fifties melodrama"'* about 
a poor shopgirl's rise to fame and fortune (starring 
Diana Ross), did reasonably well at the box office. 
Originally budgeted for $ 2.5 million, and filmed in 
Chicago and Rome, changes in the script increased 
costs by $1.25 million to a final total of approximately 
$3.75 million. 

Two average-budget films with considerable violent 
content. Death Wish (starring Charles Bronson) and 
French Connection I (starring Gene Hackman). were 
produced at a cost of S2.7 million and S2.4 million 
respectively. The former grossed $8.8 million in film 



82 



Table 2-5 

Selected Feature Films: Violent and Non- Violent: Production Costs and Revenues 



Date of 


Cost of 


Revenues 


Release 


Production^ 


Film Rentals to Dec. 1976" 




$ 


$ 


April 1975 


750,000 


5,100,000 


Aug. 1974 


2,700,000 


8,800,000 


1975 


3,000,000 


<4,000,000 


1971 


2,400,000 


27,500.000 


1972 


6,000,000 


86.000,000 


Dec. 1974 


15,000,000 


28,900,000 


June 1975 


8,000,000 


118.727.000 


Oct. 1975 


3,750,000 


6,917,776 


May 1976 


8,000,000 


6,752,000 


Nov. 1975 


115.000 


(85,000-Canadian box office)'^. (Nov. 1976) 


Feb. 1975 


600,000 


(165,000-Canadian box office)-!, (Nov. 1976) 


Oct. 1974 


4,500,000 


6,000,000 


May 1975 


2,000,000 


19,400,000 




$ 


$ 


Mar. 1975 


8,500,000 


19,000,000 


Sept. 1975 


1,200.000 


3.2OO.OOOMN0V. 1976) 


1970 


2,200,000 


50,000,000 


Dec. 1974 


4,600,000 


18,669,210 


Jan. 1975 


350,000 


3.200,000MNov. 1976) 


1974 


500,000 


2,391.446 


Feb. 1975 


4,500,000 


22,000,000 


Feb. 1975 


3,000,000 


6,600,000 


Jan. 1975 


14,000,000 


55,000,000 



Film Title 

Violent 

Death Rare 20(10 

Death Wish 

Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze 

French Connection I 

Godfather I Part 1 1 

Godfather (Part II) 

Jaws 

Mahoganv 

Missouri Breaks 

Sudden Fury (Can.) 

Sunday in the Country (Can. ) 

The Odessa File 

The Return of the Pink Panther 

Non-Violent 

Funny Lady 

Lies Mv Father Told Me (Can.) 

Love Story 

Murder on the Orient Express 

My Pleasure is My Business (Can.) 

Seven Alone 

Shampoo 

The Strongest Man in the World 

The Towering Inferno 

^Data obtained primarily from film production files in the library of the .Academy of Motion Picture .Arts and Science, Los Angeles. California. 

^Li.S. and ( anada as at the end of 1976. unless indicated otherwise. Source: Vanelv, Seventy-first Anntversarv Edition. 

'Rental data calculated Irom box-office gross. Terms of exhibition contracts vary, but a generally accepted film industry rule of thumb is that about 40 
per cent of the box-oftice dollar goes to the distributor in rentals. 

""Rentals or box-office data from distribution in the U.S. were not available. 



rentals while the latter proved exceptionally profitable 
at $27.5 million. .'X ver\ low-cost film, ncaih Race 2000. 
was one of the most violent in the list and vielded 
respectable returns. Produced at a cost of only $750,000. 
It grossed $5.1 nullion in rentals. Return of the Pink 
Panther combines humour and violence and at a cost of 
$2 million was a highly successful film with rentals of 
$19.4 million. 

Sudden Fury and Sunday in the Country were two 
relatively inexpensive films made in Canada. Revenue 
figures from U.S. distribution are not available, but the 
films fared rather poorlv at the Canadian box ofiice. 

The non-\iolenl tilms listed in fable 2-5 likewise vary 



considerably in cost and box-otfice revenues. The 
Towering Inferno was a very expensive mo\ le at $ 14 
million. It was one of several relatively costly but 
successful epic disaster movies made in the last few 
years (along with Earthquake and The Poseidon 
Adventure). Such high-cost films are not common, as 
generally there is some hesistancy about risking such 
large sums in any one picture.'** 

Other above-average budget films in the list include 
Funny Lady. Murder on the Orient Express, and 
Shampoo. Funny Lady, a romantic musical comedy, was 
a relatively large undertaking at $8.5 million but did not 
do nearly as well as Shampoo, a comedy combined with 



83 



sexuality. Shampoo grossed $40 million at the box office 
in the first five months. Canadian first-runs grossed $2.2 
million at the box office.^" The Disney production The 
Strongest Man in the World, a comic fantasy, was 
brought in at $3 million but fared relatively poorly, with 
$6.6 million in film rentals. On the other hand. Love 
Story (described in an earlier part of this chapter) was 
an exceptional success. Budgeted at $2.2 million, it 
grossed $50 million in rentals. Seven Alone, an 
adventure film, was produced at a very low cost of 
$500,000 but proved profitable with rentals of $2.4 
million. 

Two Canadian films. Lies My Father Told Me and My 
Pleasure Is My Business, made reasonable inroads into 
the American market and yielded respectable returns of 
$8 million each at the box office. Both cost well below 
the average cost of U.S. films, with Lies budgeted at 
$1.2 million and My Pleasure Is My Business with a very 
low budget of $350,000. The latter was a sex-oriented 
film starring the well publicized Xaviera Hollander, 
which undoubtedly helped at the box ofl:ce. 

From this list of films, no set pattern emerges with 
respect to costs, revenues, and theme (violent versus 
non-violent). It would appear from such examples as 
Death Wish. French Connection. Return of the Pink 
Panther. Death Race 2000, Love Story. Lies. Shampoo, 
Seven Alone, and My Pleasure Is My Business that 
successful violent as well as non-violent films can be 
produced at average to less-than-average costs if they 
combine a reasonably good story with good acting and 
technical qualities and are well promoted. Stars such as 
Warren Beatty (Shampoo). Charles Bronson (Death 
Wish). Peter Sellers (Pink Panther), and Barbra 
Streisand (Funny Lady) do assist the popularity of the 
films, although stars are not a guarantee of success and 
do add to the cost of production. The matter of whether 
the film depicts violence or non-violence does not 
appear to be crucial to the success of the film. 

Despite this, it is the opinion of many producers that 
exploitive films dealing with violence, terror, and 
sexuality are reasonably "safe" types of films - that is, 
they can be produced at low to moderate costs and have 
a degree of certainty at the box office. These films 
appear sufficiently different from the usual television 
fare of movies and entertainment that they attract 
people to cinemas and apparentlv producers believe 
that to attract cinema audiences, theatrical films must 
bediflTerent from television programming. Ifsuch films 
enjoy better-than-average appeal, they will produce 
substantial returns (take the example of French 
Connection), but if they fail to attract audiences, the 
losses are relatively small in comparison to high-cost 
films. It has been estimated that about one movie out of 
four will return a profit. In the words of movie director 
Sidney Lumet (Murder On The Orient Express). "I think 
it really works out to about one hit in four: one in four 
works out terrifically; one in four gets the money back: 
one in four loses a little: and one in four is a total 
disaster."-' 



It has also been suggested that cheap violence-and- 
sex films are not only more certain at the box office but 
they are easier to produce. Actors and script writers are 
more readily available, and locations for filming 
generally do not pose a problem and usually they also 
require fewer set constructions. The relative ease of 
producing such films is of course reflected in relatively 
low costs of production. 

Given the uncertainty or risk factor in the film 
industry, the difficulties of securing substantial funds 
for a major picture, and the problems of obtaining inter- 
esting or popular stories devoid of violence or sexuality 
and comparing these to the almost limitless ways in 
which themes of violence or sexuality can be portrayed 
at relatively low cost, and considering the current belief 
that this is what audiences will go to theatres to see, it is 
understandable that producers, particularly the 
independents, opt for films on these themes. 



B. Film Production In Canada 

/. Size of the Industry 

For the year 1974, Statistics Canada listed a total of 187 
private firms engaged in the motion picture production 
industry in Canada, with gross revenue of approxi- 
mately $49.6 million ~ (Table 2-6). A list of the kind of 
film produced during 1974 is presented in Table 2-7. 
Only 28 feature films were produced by Canadian film 
producers during that year. Elsewhere it has been 
shown that there were 901 new feature films distributed 
in Canada. Canadian-produced film consequently 
accounted for approximately 3 per cent of the new 
features shown in Canada. 

Most of the production firms in the Canadian film 
industry are small and operate on low budgets: 
very few of the theatncal films they produce cost more 
than $1 million. Investment funds for Canadian films 
are not very readily available and budget limitations 
therefore act as a major constraint for most producers 
and are a determining factor in the type of film 
produced. Budget limitations also apply to the 
promotion and distribution of films (unless the film is 
distributed by a major distributing company), as few 
Canadian producers are able to budget sufficient funds 
for adequate promotion. 

Sources of funds for the production of Canadian films 
include private investors, banks, the Canadian Film 
Development Corporation (cfdc ), the major distribu- 
tors, the two major exhibitors -^-^ (Famous Players and 
Odeon), and foreign sources. For example, the 
production capital for Lies My Father Told Me was 
raised through private bank loans, grants from the cfdc. 
and a loan from Famous Players Ltd.-^ Another 
example. The Uncanny, a $1 million .Anglo-Canadian 
co-production, received $200,000 financing from the 
c'f [X , $ 1 50,000 from Odeon I'heatres Canada, and 
funds from Astral-Bellevue-Pathe (a distributor), and 
other private sources, including funds from England.-^ 
A recent Canadian film. Who Has Seen The Wind, 



84 



Tabic 2-6 

Motion Picture Production in Canada, 1963-1974 



Revenue ($ million) 



Year 


No. of 

Production 

Firms 


Production 
Revenue 


Printing 
and Lab 


Other 


1963 


69 


7.8 


3.9 


.4 


1964 


71 


7.9 


4.4 


.4 


1965 


74 


8.6 


4.5 


I.I 


1966 


82 


11.5 


5.1 


1.4 


1967 


93 


14.5 


7.5 


.7 


1968 


95 


16.1 


9.9 


.9 


1969 


89 


15.3 


10.2 


1.4 


1970 


112 


20.7 


12.2 


1.2 


1971 


— 


— 


— 


— 


1972 


139 


22.9 


12.6 


.9 


1973 


143 


24.6 


13.9 


1.3 


1974 


187 


30.0 


18.0 


1.6 


Source: 


Slatistics Canada. Motion Picture Production. 1974 (Ottawa. 1976). 









Table 2-7 

Film Production in Canada. 1974 





Private 


Industry 




Government 


Total 


Kind of film 


Quebec 


Ontario 


Canada 






Theatrical motion picture production 




(number) 








Sound feature 


17 


8 


27 


1 


28 


Sound short 


5 


2 


7 


24 


31 


Commercials 


48 


144 


193 


— 


193 


Other 


9 


2 


11 


1 


12 


Television motion picture production 












Entertainment 


19 


143 


165 


13 


178 


Information and documentary 


192 


161 


396 


44 


440 


Commercials 


383 


1,505 


2.250 


12 


2.262 


Other 


3 


54 


97 


43 


140 


Non-theatrical motion picture production 












Information and promotion 


69 


197 


324 


65 


389 


Tourism 


8 


5 


20 


5 


25 


Instruction and training 


48 


80 


159 


16 


175 


Other 


5 


52 


61 


6 


67 



Total producli 



806 



2,353 



3.710 



230 



3.940 



Source Statistics Canada. Motion Picture Production. 1974 (Ottawa. 1976). 



85 



filmed in Saskatchewan at a cost of approximately $1 

million was financed with $300,000 from the Province of 
Saskatchewan, $300,000 from the ci dc, $100,000 from 
Famous Players Ltd., and approximately $200,000 from 
private investors.-" 

2. Co-Produclions 

There has been a recent trend towards an increasing 
number of Canadian films produced under co- 
production agreements with foreign filmmakers, partic- 
ularly .^merican. Co-productions with L'.S. producers 
or distributors provides an important source of financial 
backing. One of the more active film production 
companies in Canada - International Cinemedia Center 
- has had a co-production agreement with Columbia 
Pictures in the U.S. since 1975. The head of Cinemedia, 
John Kemeny, is convinced that it could be a model for 
other Canadian film-producing companies. He points 
out that such agreements bring mone\ into Canada 
because of the agreement under which Columbia 
contributes to the financing of the joint projects.- ' Co- 
production with U.S. producers or distributors is also 
one way of breaking into the American market because 
of the distribution by the American counterpart. 

American producers or distributors who enter into 
co-production agreements, however, appear to have 
little interest in Canadian themes or Canadian- 
originated projects or scripts.-* It would appear that 
there is generally some pressure to have either an 
American director or star to give the film a Hollywood 
image. In this regard, Michael Spencer, executive 
director of the Canadian Film Development Corpo- 
ration commented: "We're still struggling to get 
Canadian-originated projects in this area, still struggling 
to get work tor our directors and script writers."-'' The 
Council of Canadian Filmmakers has also expressed 
serious concern about co-productions with Holl\ wood 
producers and distributors, fearing that these will 
eventually lead to the Canadian film industry becoming 
a subsidiary of the Hollywood majors, and drawing an 
analogy to the fate of the Canadian automobile 
industry."^ 

Influencing pressures for the Hollywood image or 
presence in a film, of course, are not limited to co- 
productions with U.S. producers or distributors. 
Investors in film generally may insist on approval of- 
or at least try to exert some influence on the choices of- 
directors and actors or actresses in line with their 
assessment of box-office attractions as a condition of 
their investment. For example. Famous Players Ltd., in 
return for its $100,000 support of Who Has Seen The 
Wind, wanted an internatumal name to play a part in 
the film in an attempt to improve distribution and box- 
oflfice attraction. Thus actor Jose Ferrer was given a 
part in the film.''. 

Co-productions in Canada, of course, are not only 
with the U.S. Canada has formal co-production agree- 
ments with Britain, France, and Italy. Some films" 



currently under production with producers or distrib- 
utors of other countries include: Black Fury (with Italy), 
The Disappearance. (Britain): Fhghi lu Hell (Britain): 
The Evil Lives On (France): and two $ I million horror- 
genre Anglo-Canadian films. Full Circle, and The 
Uncanny (about cats that terrorize humans),both 
supported by the rttx'.'- 

Some maintain that the recent trend towards co- 
productions has been stimulated bv recent changes in 
tax legislation as it pertains to films made in Canada. 
Included in these changes was a provision permitting a 
100 per cent write-off" of investment in the film in the 
year in which it was made. This 1(X) per cent write-off" 
provision applies only to qualifying Canadian feature 
films with specified Canadian content or to films 
produced under the terms of an official Canadian co- 
production agreement. 

3. Role of the cfdc in the Canadian Film Industry 

The Canadian Film Development Corporation was 
established in 1967 to foster and promote the feature 
film industry in Canada through a system of invest- 
ments, loans, and awards. Up to 1976, the cfdc had 
invested over $20 million in feature film production. It 
has been estimated that approximately 57 per cent 
could be regarded as a total "write-olT" in terms of 
yielding monetar\ returns." 

Since 1972 there appears to have been a more 
concerted eff'ort on the part of the cfdc to financiall) 
support commercial films with greater potential for 
international distribution and consequently a greater 
potential for yielding a monetary return. TTie cfdc has 
been under pressure to produce better financial returns 
on Its investments. Since the Canadian market alone 
cannot support a film industry, the cfdc has been 
forced to look to the international marketability of 
films. Films of cultural and artistic appeal will not 
achieve this nor will they lead to a financially viable film 
industry in Canada. 

Three recent trends can be observed in the cfdc 
program of film support which is directed towards a 
more viable film industry in Canada. First, the cfdc has 
become more deeply involved in supporting Canadian 
producers who undertake potentially profitable co- 
productions with foreign producers. Examples are 
Shadow of the Hawk, co-produced with Columbia 
Pictures; and The Uncanny, and Full Circle, both 
Canadian-U.K co-productions. 

Secondly, the cfdc is tending to support more films 
of an exploitive nature with themes of violence and 
horror. The box-otfice figures on these films suggest that 
thev are. on the whole, more readily marketable than 
other low-cost films. For instance. Black Christmas and 
Death Weekend (holh budgeted within $300,000 to 
$500,000), two terror suspense pictures, along with two 
other films (Kamoiiraska and Duddy Kravitz.) 
accounted for most of the cfdcs revenues of $833,998 in 
1975-76.-''' Black Christmas was distributed in Canada. 



86 



Table 2-8 

cFDC-supporied English Production Films, 1974-75 lo 1976-77 



Budget Category 
Under SISO.OOO' 



$150,000-300.000 
$300,000-500.000 
Over S500.000 

Under $150,000" 



$150,000-300,000 
$300,000-500.000 



Over $500,000 



Under $150,00&' 
Over S500.000 



Film 

1974-75 

The Mourning Suit 

Sudden Fury 

Me 

The Supreme Kid 

Sally Fieldgood 

Million Dollar Hockey Puck 

125 Rooms oj Comfort 

Lions for Breakfast 
Shivers 

Black Christmas 
The Far Shore 

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time 
1975-76 

Love at First Sight 

A Sweeter Song 

The Keeper 

The Clown Murders 

Brethren 

Recommendation For Mercv 

Partners 
Second Wind 
Death Weekend 
Breaking Point 
Find the Lady 

1976-77 

Skip Tracer 

Goldenrod 

Rituals 

Shadow of the Hawk 

Summer Rain 

Who Has Seen the Wind 

Why Shoot the Teacher 

The Uncannv 

Full Circle 



Type 

(CFOC Classification) 



Drama 

Suspense 

Drama 

Comedy 

Comedy 

Children's Film 

Drama 

Children's Film 
Horror 

Terror Suspense 
Romance 

Comedy 

Comedy 

Comedy 

Parody 

Drama 

Drama 

True Life Drama 

Social Drama 

Drama 

Suspense 

Action 
Comedy 

Drama 

Drama 

Suspense 

Supernatural Drama 

Romance 

Drama 

Drama 

Suspense 

Psychological Suspense 



•For films with hudgcls less than $150,000 listed in Ihis lahle. ihe inx provided 60 per cent of Ihc budget. The normal terms for most other 
CFDC-supported films arc for the < i ix to provide $200,000 or 50 per cent of Ihe budget, whichever is less. 
Sourre; Canadian Film Rcvelopment Corporation. 



87 



the U.S., Italy, Germany, South Africa, and the Far 
East. Shivers, a horror film, was also reasonably 
successful in the market. As shown in Table 2-8, of the 
eight major films supported by the cfdc in 1976-77, 
three are classified as suspense and one is classified as 
supernatural drama. No comedies or children's films 
appear on the 1976-77 list. It has been estimated that 
over half of the applications to the cfdc requesting 
support are exploitive in nature, primarily on the theme 
of violence. Undoubtedly, numerous producers in 
Canada, operating on low budgets, believe that within 
the confines of their finances, films of an exploitive 
nature have the greatest potential for yielding a return. 
And if the theme of violence or terror has proved' 
reasonably successful for an individual producer, he is 
likely to stay with the theme at least until he has estab- 
lished a reputation as a successful producer. Once 
established, financing for his films may become more 
readily available and he may then give some thought to 
producing "better quality" films. 

Thirdly, in an apparent realization that very low- 
budget films (less than $300,000) receive insufficient 
distribution and lack sufficient box-office appeal to 
financially sustain the movie-maker, the cfdc also is 
aiding some more expensive pictures. As shown in 
Table 2-8. in 1974-7?, of the 12 English production 
feature films supported by the cfdc, nine were under a 
$300,000 budget and only one exceeded $500,000. In 
1976-77, only one film under $500,000 received cfdc 
support, while eight films had budgets in excess of 
$500,000. As shown elsewhere, the average cost of 
production of American films is approximately $3 
million. Canadian producers cannot hope to compete 
with American films or successfully break into the 
American market with $150,000 movies. Even if a 
particular theme (like violence) is more readily 
marketable than others, viewers are unlikely to respond 
to a very poor quality film on the subject. Furthermore, 
the relative success of films such as Lies My Father Told 
Me and The Apprenticeship of Diiddy Kravitz. both $1 
million films, would indicate that Canadian-made 
dramatic films of reasonable quality (as well as 
suspense/ terror films) can find an international market. 

Another recent development has been the cfdc's 
involvement in the promotion and distribution of 
Canadian feature films. For the 1975-76 fiscal year the 
CFDC obtained an additional $1.2 million to be used for 
promotion and distribution. " This has been welcomed 
by the Canadian film industry. The lack of funds and 
expertise for promoting and distributing Canadian films 
domesticallv has hampered the development of the film 
industry and it is believed that through improved 
promotion and distribution. Canadian films could do 
considerably better at the box office both domestically 
and internationally.'* 



C. Motion Picture Distributional Infrastructure in Canada 
In the film industry the distributor is a vital hnk 
between the producer and the exhibitor. In 1974 there 
were 82 firms engaged in the distibution of films in 
Canada, working through 142 offices. During that year, 
1.006 new films were distributed. Of these, 901 were new 
feature films consisting of 513 English, 378 French, and 
1 15 films in other languages." The countr>' of origin of 
these films is as follows: 



United States 

France 

Great Britain 

Italy 

Canada 

Other 

Total 



355 

152 

67 

57 

32 

238 

901 



Receipts from the rental of films amounted to $87.2 
million in 1974.'* Theatrical rentals (share of cinema 
box office going to distributors) totalled $59.9 million 
and represented 68.7 per cent of the total film rental 
receipts. Distributors" receipts from the rental of films to 
television amounted to $20.9 million or 24.0 per cent of 
total receipts, while the remaining $6.4 milHon or 7.3 
per cent came from the rental of films for all other non- 
cinema use.-''* 

The bulk of cinema rentals accrue from American 
films. In both 1974 and 1975 Canada was the largest 
foreign market for American films. Cinema rental 
revenues for U.S. films in Canada totalled $54.4 million 
in 1974 (out of a total of 59.9 million) and increased by 
16 per cent in 1975 to $63.2 million, an all-time peak."*" 
Prior to 1974, Canada generally ranked third in 
Hollywood foreign markets. It has been estimated that 
of the rental receipts from U.S. films in Canada, approx- 
imately 50 per cent is retained in Canada and 50 per 
cent is returned to the U.S. as royalties for the use of the 
films."' 

Film distributors in Canada can be grouped into two 
categories; the majors and the independents. The 
majors include two Canadian-owned companies and 
seven foreign-owned distribution companies which 
together account for approximately 90 per cent of all 
film rental receipts in Canada.''- In some cases there is 
an interrelationship between these firms. For example, 
Bellevue Film Distribution conducts most of the 
business of Twentieth Century Fox and Walt Disney 
through Bellevue's regional offices. 

Most of the foreign-owned distribution firms are 
characterized by some form of vertical integration - 
that is. they are associated with a producing company 
either through a franchise or a parent company distri- 
bution agreement. These distribution firms are conse- 
quently engaged in distributing films acquired by the 



88 



parent company, which also tended to be a source of 
investment funds tor the distribution firm.'*' They 
seldom participate in the distribution of films made in 
Canada. I he major Canadian distributors also generally 
have distribution agreements with major production 
companies which provide them with sources of supply. 
In essence, vertical integration and distribution arrange- 
ments make the distributor the marketing agent of films 
rather than a simple liaison agent between producer and 
exhibitor. The distributor is the seller of the product and 
therefore has a vital interest in the quality of films since 
his revenues are determined by the success of the 
product. 

Appro.ximately 70 small Canadian independent 
distributors share 10 per cent of the distribution rentals. 
They are engaged in distributing Canadian films 
(including rpDC-sponsored films), but rely for the most 
part on foreign suppliers of films. Unlike the majors, 
they do not enjoy a guaranteed suppU of theatrical 
films nor do they deal with high-cost feature films. 

A variety of producer-distributor arrangements on 
theatrical films may be identified ranging from the 
outright purchase from the producer to sharing of 
rentals. These arrangements also establish the agreed 
percentage of payouts to the producer from all sources 
of revenue in addition to theatrical rentals, such as 
television rights, sequel and remake rights, commercial 
tie-ins. audio discs and music publishing, et cetera. 
Almost invariablv the distributor demands editorial 
powers to use his sole discretion to cut. edit, or dub the 
original film in any manner he sees fit so that he need 
not be hampered in later dealings with censorship 
requirements or television standards. 

With respect to the theatrical rentals, except in the 
rare case of a complete buv-out. the producer mav enter 
into a "gross" deal or a "net" deal - the difference being 
whether the split is made before or after the distributor's 
expenses are deducted. These expenses may var) widely 
and are usually decided solelv by the distributor. 
Included are the costs of making prints of the film, 
buying advertising, and the costs of preparing all the 
advertising and promotional materials, and checking 
the honestv of the box-office receipts. A tvpical "net" 
deal would assign 63 to 75 per cent of the balance after 
expenses to the producer. A "gross" deal would give the 
producer a much smaller percentage since expenses may 
well run 20 per cent or better of the total receipts. In 
this case the producer would probably demand some 
initial payment "up front" and expect earlier receipts. 
In either case, the entire management, promotion, and 
exploitation strategv of the film is usuallv in the hands 
of the distributor in perpetuits." The wise producer has 
secured all "rights" and indemnities from his collabora- 
tors. In turn the wise distributor has secured all these 
from the producer. He. therefore, "owns" the film, rents 
it to theatres, and exploits all other possible sources of 
revenue. 



Of the gross box-office revenue from a film shown in 
cinemas, the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors 
Association estimates that the distributor receives 
approximately 33 to 34 per cent. This share has been 
increasing in recent years as the distributor has been 
assuming greater responsibilities in promoting the film 
(i.e. through advertising). In general, the distributor has 
been spending approximately 15 per cent of his receipts 
(film rentals) in promotion. Columbia Pictures, in 
February 1976, calculated its box office sharing as 
follows:'" 



Exhibition 

Production 

Prints and Advertising 

Distribution 

Third-party Financing 



62.5% 

12.5 

11.8 

7.1 

6.0 



The contractual arrangements between the 
distributor and the cinema owner (or cinema chain) 
vary even more widely than between producer and 
distributor. The spectrum extends from "four-walling" 
which implies the distributor rents the cinema for a 
generous fee. pays for all the local promotion and takes 
the entire box office, to a complete "buv-out" which 
means that the distributor receives a flat fee from the 
cinema owner for use of the film for a certain period of 
time within a stated territory. The cinema owner pays 
for the promotion and collects all the receipts. Most 
deals are contracted on some sliding scale of 
percentages depending on the degree of success of the 
film. Initially, the cinema owner is paid the higher 
percentage, e.g. 60 per cent until he has removed his 
"nut" (fixed overhead costs). Subsequently, the 
distributor's share might rise to 70 per cent. Whether 
provided for or not in the contract, most deals are open 
to re-negotiation to protect the cinema owner from a 
disaster and maintain the distributor's good will. Many 
"block busters" like Jans are distributed on a 90-10 
basis, i.e. the distributor gets 90 per cent of the ticket 
receipts, but only after a fee for use of the cinema has 
been deducted. This type of marketing may include 
such features as exclusivity to a particular cinema, pre- 
release before general release, reserved seats, raised 
admission prices, and limited showings.* 

Block-booking of feature films, a policy which forced 
an exhibitor to take less attractive films in order to 
receive highly successful films as well, has been largely 
abandoned since the mid-sixties. In the U.S., it was 
general practice until 1947 when the studios were forced 
by law to divest themselves of their cinemas. This 
coincided with a decline in film production, which 
meant there was no longer a surplus to be marketed. 
However, it is still a factor in television booking where 
"packages" consisting of serials, feature films produced 
for television, and other feature films, either hits or 



89 



duds, are distributed to television networks and 
stations. 

The cost of promotion of films through advertising 
and other publicity may well equal or exceed the actual 
cost of production. Distributing firms generally employ 
film promoters or marketing experts. The promotion of 
a film may begin in the very earlv stages of production 
in order to arouse public interest in the film prior to its 
release. This is frequently the practice in the U.S. and 
two recent, notable examples are Jaws and King Kong 
(the production of which was featured in an October 
1976 issue of Time magazine prior to its release). On the 
other hand, marketing considerations may be left to the 
end, as is the case with most Canadian productions. In 
Canada, frequentlv both distributors and exhibitors 
contribute to the advertising of newly released films on 
a cooperative basis - the amount dependent on their 
assessment of the promotional qualities of the film and 
its expected gross. Frequently the cinema-owner decides 
which media should be used in his locality. 

Two types of release methods for film may be 
employed: the standard release method and the 
showcase method. The former is generally applied to 
films with good potential which have been publicized 
prior to release and are sure to be hits with little further 
publicity or low-key publicity {Tlw Godfather is a prime 
example). Such a film is released in only one prime- 
location, first-run cinema in key movie centres such as 
New York. Chicago, and Los Angeles. In Canada, a 
new English-language product is tried out in Toronto, a 
French-language product in Montreal. 

The showcase method is applied to a high-budget, 
frequently star-studded film whose potential is question- 
able. It is preceded with a barrage of publicity and 
hard-sell marketing techniques and shown in a large 
number of cinemas and cities at the same time, with the 
intent of attracting as large an audience as possible over 
a very short period. The objective is to recoup most of 
the production costs in a short period before adverse 
publicity sets in {Missouri Breaks could fit into this 
category). 

While newspapers have been generally used as the 
major medium of advertising, both radio and television 
may be extensively used depending on the particular 
marketing strategy determined for the film.'''' With the 
rise of smaller and multiple cinemas, and the simulta- 
neous release in many cinemas within a broadcast 
coverage pattern, television has been assuming a greater 
role, particularly with respect to the more violent and 
sensational films which lend themselves to brief 
synopses dealing with these aspects. From time to time, 
serious questions have been raised about the style or 
explictness of the advertising associated with some 
films. Newspaper ads have been refused or censored on 
occasion. Television commercials for Restricted and 
Adult films, which may closely suggest or reflect the 
content of the film, are run indiscriminately throughout 
the broadcast day. Regardless of which fraction of the 



public may wish to pay to see these films, anyone 
watching television may be involuntarily exposed to the 
promotional activities. 

There does not appear to be a particular rule 
concerning the amounts spent to promote a film and its 
initial cost. Some of the largest campaigns have been 
mounted for low-budget films, e.g. Billv Jack, and 
frequently for those of little sustaining merit. One of the 
problems that Canadian producers who are outside the 
major distribution exhibition system face is the 
difficulty of funding promotional campaigns in the mass 
media. Their restricted budgets leave little if anything 
beyond production costs. This problem is overcome to 
some extent if backing is received from a Canadian or 
American major distribution company, but the price 
usually conforms to the company's requirements. 

D. Motion Picture Theatres in Canada 

I. Some Trends 

During 1974 there were 1,423 cinemas in Canada of 
which 1,116 were regular cinemas'** (a decrease of 19 
from 1973) and 307 were drive-ins. Total receipts were 
$172.7 million, of which $149.7 million or 86.6 per cent 
accrued to regular cinemas and $ 22.9 million or 13.2 
per cent went to drive-ins. Of the total number of paid 
admissions of 90.4 million, regular cinemas and drive- 
ins accounted for 79.0 million and 1 1 .4 million respec- 
tively (Table 2-9). 

Table 2-10 shows the composition of total receipts by 
source for regular cinemas in Canada in 1974. Receipts 
from admissions represented 84.6 per cent of the total, 
while the sale of candy, soft drinks, cigarettes, et cetera 
accounted for 15.3 per cent of the total receipts. 

Table 2-1 1 shows the principle statistics for cinemas 
in Ontario for selected cities in 1974. There were 285 
establishments, with a seating capacity of 205.8 million, 
of which the average capacity utilized was 16 per cent, 
the same as for Canada as a whole. The high-capacity 
utilization in Ottawa probably reflects in part the 
relatively small capacitv per capita and the 
demographics of the movie audience (for example, the 

Table 2-9 

Motion Picture Exhibition in Canada. 1974 



Item 
Theatres 



Total all Regular Drive-in 
Theatres Theatres Theatres 



1,423 1,116 307 

Receipts from admis- 
sions ($000) 172,683 149,720 22,963 

Amusement taxes ($000) 12,784 11.184 1,600 

Number of paid admis- 
sions ($000) 90,392 79.020 11,372 

Source: Stalistics Canada. Malum Piciurt- Tht-tiires and Film Dt^inhutors. 
1974 {Otuwa. 1976). 



90 



Table 2-10 

Receipts of Motion Picture Theatres hy Source, 
J 974 Canada 



Source of Receipts 

Admissions (excl. taxes) 

Amusement taxes 

Sale of candy, drinks, cigarettes, etc. 

Rental revenue from concessions 
and vending machines 

Revenue from sliowing commercial 
films 

Other revenue 
Total 



$ 

(000) 


% 


149,720 


78.7 


11,184 


5.9 


27,259 


14.3 



270 

62 
1,764 

190,259 



.9 
100.0 



Source: Slalislics Canada, \fitiiim Piciiirt' Theatre>i and Film Disirihulors. 
/«7-* (Ottawa. 19761 

higher the income level, and the higher the educational 
level, the greater the incidence of movie attendance). 
Table 2-12 highlights some of the trends relating to 
cinemas in Canada over the period 1948-1974. The data 
show a considerable decline in the number of regular 
cinemas and in the number of paid admissu)ns since the 
early 1950s. The number of establishments has de- 
creased from a high of 1,950 in 1955 to 1.1 16 in 1974, 
while the number of paid admissions dropped from a 
high of 247.7 million in 1952 to a low of 77.4 million in 
1973 (reflecting the influence of television and probably 
the increased variety of choices for allocating leisure 
time), then rose to 79.0 million in 1974. This is a sub- 



stantial market loss, particularly in light of the popula- 
tion growth over the same period. Receipts from admis- 
sions fell from 1953 ($100.9 million) to 1962(560.9 
million), when attendance fell dramatically, and then 
gradually increased to stand at $149.7 million in 1974, 
reflecting increasing admission charges and obviously a 
relatively low price-elasticity of demand. A comparison 
with drive-in cinemas for the same period shows that 
the number of these increased steadily from 15 in 1948 
to 242 in 1955, remained relatively stable to 1967, and 
then started to increase again to stand at 307 in 1974. 
Paid admissions at drive-ins fluctuated between 9 mil- 
lion and 12 million between 1955 and 1974 and stood at 
1 1.4 million in 1974.^'' 

Cinemas have attempted to meet the problems of 
diminishing audiences and large unused capacity by 
introducing multi-screen auditoriums. Large cinemas 
were divided into two or more smaller auditoriums, 
enabling owners to reduce the average cost per screen 
by more efficient use of staff. In addition, exhibitors 
could extend film engagements by transferring a film 
from a large auditorium after a few weeks to a smaller 
auditorium in response to the decreasing audience. 

As explained elsewhere in this study, the sharing 
arrangements of the gross box office between exhibitor 
and distributor vary. Generally, the exhibitor's share 
tends to be smaller for a movie with a reputation or 
potential for drawing audiences but, when a movie does 
draw well, the result is usually a reasonably good profit. 
Cinema owners claim, however, that very big draws are 
few and far between; thert has been a lack of good 
movies in recent years. '" In 1975 such exceptional box 
office draws as Jaws. Earthquake, Towering Inferno, and 
Shampoo helped bring the earnings of Famous Players 
Canada Ltd. up over 54 per cent of 1974 earnings.^' 



Table 2-11 

Data on Motion Picture Theatres in Ontario, 1974 





Establishments 


Seating 
Capacity 


Receipts from 
Admissions 


No. of Paid 
Admissions 


Average Capacity 
Utilized 










(000) 


($ milli 


ons) 


(millions) 


% 


Ontario 


285 






205.8 


56.1 




29.1 


16 


Toronto 


67 






57.1 


19,7 




8.8 


15 


Hamilton 


14 






10.9 


3.4 




1.7 


17 


Ottawa 


11 






9.2 


4.6 




2.3 


23 


London 


8 






6.3 


2.3 




1.1 


14 


Windsor 


7 






7.0 


1.9 




.9 


10 


Oshawa 


5 






4.0 


1.1 




.6 


18 


Sault Ste. Marie 


5 






3.1 


.6 




.4 


13 


Other places 


168 






108.2 


22.5 




13.3 


16 


Source: Statistics Canad; 


1. \tolion Pi I 


lure 


Theatres 


and Film Dislrihulors. 


/07.< (Ottawa. 


1976) 







91 



Table 2-12 

Historical Slalistics of Motion Picture Theatres' 
1948-1974 



Year 



1948 
1949 
1950 

1951 
1952 

1953 
1954 
1955 
1956 
1957 

1958 
1959 
1960 
1961 
1962 

1963 
1964 
1965 
1966 
1967 

1968 
1969 
1970 
1971 
1972 

1973 
1974 



Establishments 


Receipts from 
Admissions 

(excl. taxes) 


Paid 
Admissions 




$ million 


million 


1.604 


68.7 


219.3 


1,731 


77.4 


229.3 


1.801 


82.7 


231.7 


1.808 


91.0 


239.1 


1.843 


98.9 


247.7 


1.906 


100.9 


241.2 


1.938 


97,0 


218.5 


1.950 


86.3 


185.0 


1.849 


80.7 


162.9 


1.716 


76.4 


146.8 


1.622 


75.1 


136.3 


1.515 


68.3 


118.6 


1.427 


65.5 


107.7 


1,341 


62.2 


97.9 


1.278 


60.9 


91,3 


1.245 


63.8 


88,0 


1.209 


69.3 


90,9 


1.171 


75.4 


89,1 


1.149 


83.0 


87,7 


1.156 


90.8 


85.5 


1,148 


99.0 


84.9 


1,157 


102.3 


78,9 


1,156 


111.7 


80.8 



1,128 

1,135 
1,116 



122.5 

129.9 
149.7 



81.2 

77,4 
79,0 



"Excluding drive-in theatres. 

Source: Stalislics Canada. Motion Picture Theatres and Film Distributors. 
/974 (Ottawa. 1975). 



2. Major Exhibitors 

There are two major cinema chains in Canada and they 

are subsidiaries of foreign companies. These are 



Famous Players Ltd.. of which 51.5 per cent is owned 
by the U.S. conglomerate Gulf and Western, and 
Odeon Theatres (Canada) Ltd. which is 100 per cent 
ow ned by the Rank Organization of England. Together 
these chains controlled 63 per cent of the gross earnings 
of the Canadian theatrical film market in 1973. In 
Ontario these two companies controlled 62.3 per cent of 
Ontario's cinemas (increased from 44 per cent in 1963), 
including the most profitable. TTie most profitable 
cinemas are generally located in the larger urban 
centres. In 1974. Famous Plavers and Odeon controlled 
approximate!) 78 per cent of the auditorium cinemas 
located in urban centres with populations in excess of 
35.000." 

The major distributors listed earlier frequently tend 
to align themselves with either one or both of these 
chains. For example. Famous Plavers currently takes 
100 per cent of the films distributed bv Paramount, 
Warner Brothers, and United Artists, one-third of 
Universal and two-thirds of Twentieth Century Fox, '^ 
Since these distributors are either U.S. subsidiaries or 
U.S. distributors operating through a Canadian distrib- 
utor, the source of supply of films for Famous Players is 
primarily the U.S. .Apparently a similar situation exists 
with Odeon. It has been argued that the films of 
Canadian producers, who are for the most part 
independent of this distribution exhibition system, do 
not enjoy the same treatment as foreign films which are 
part of the system. Some producers have charged that 
Canadian-made films are discriminated against by the 
two major exhibition chains. At the same time, small 
independent exhibitors have charged that the major 
distributors in Canada have refused to rent to them 
good quality first-run films because of their alignment 
w ith Famous Plavers or Odeon. ^■^ The counter- 
argument is that distnbutors and exhibitors will seek 
Canadian films in the same wax they do foreign films if 
the\ believe that they have box-oflnce potential. This 
position has been verified by some of the more 
successful Canadian producers who have indicated that 
they have encountered no difficulty in having their films 
exhibited in Canadian theatres.'' 

Both Famous Plav ers and Odeon have come to an 
agreement with the Secretary of State on a system of 
voluntary exhibition quotas for Canadian films. The 
initial agreement in 1973 was for these chains to provide 
a minimum of two weeks screening time for each major 
English-language feature film in Canada's three largest 
cities of Toronto. Montreal, and Vancouver. Between 
August 1973 and March 1975. Famous Plavers showed 
1 1 Canadian films for a total running time of 928 weeks, 
while Odeon ran nine films for a total of 87 weeks.'* 
Under the terms of the more recent arrangement. 
Famous Players and Odeon agreed to exhibit Canadian 
feature films for four weeks a year in every cinema 
which they own or control.'^ Smaller chains are not 
included in the agreement. 



92 



Some exhibitors in Canada are engaged in funding 
part of the production costs of Canadian films. From 
1970 to January 1976. Famous Players and its subsidi- 
aries invested a total of $ 2,826.000 in films made in 
Canada. Of this total, $1,520,509 was invested in 
French-language productions and $1,305,491 in 
English-language productions. As of January 1976, 
Famous Players realized a return or income on this 
investment of $554,000. '*'* Among the English-language 
productions, the amount ranged from a low of $15,000 
to a high of $107,000. The average amount per film was 
approximately $50,000 for films which cost an average 
of $500,000. 



Table 2-13 

United States 

Age of Motion Picture Audiences. 1976 



Age 

12-15 years 
16-20 years 
21-24 years 
25-29 years 
30-39 years 
40-49 years 
50-59 years 
60 and over 



12-17 years 
18 and over 



Percent of Total 
Yearly Admissions 

14 
31 
15 
16 
13 

5 

3 

3 

100 

20 
80 



Percent of 
Population 

10 

12 

9 

10 

15 
13 
13 
18 

100 

15 
85 



Source: Opinion Research Corporation. Incuknce of Motion Picture 
Attendance. Study tor the Motion Picture .Association of .America. 1976. 



K. Demographics of Motion Picture .Audiences 

/. United Stales 

Tables 2-13 to 2-16 reveal some highlights of the latest 
U.S. demographic study on movie audiences under- 
taken by the Motion Picture Association of America 
(MPAA). Among the highlights are the following:*" 

a) The teenage (12-17) share of total admissions is 20 
per cent, reflecting a continuing drop from a share 
which long stood at 25 per cent or more. (In 1973 the 
teenage share was 26 per cent.) 

b) The age group 12-29 accounted for 76 per cent of 
total admissions (but only 41 per cent of the popula- 
tion), while the age group 12-39 accounted for 89 per 
cent of admissions (and 56 per cent of the population). 
The group 40 years and over shared 1 1 per cent of total 
admissions (and 44 per cent of the population). 



(%) 


(%) 


(% 


29 


25 


12 


32 


28 


11 


15 


16 


14 


24 


32 


64 



Table 2-14 

United States 

Frequency of Motion Picture Attendance by Education, 
1976 

Age 18 and over 

Some High School Less Than 

College Complete High School 

Frequent (once 
a month) 

Occasional (once 
in 2 to 6 months) 32 

Infrequent 

Never 

Source: Opinion Research Corporation. 

Table 2-15 

United States 

Frequency of Movie Attendance bv Family Income 

Frequent or Occasional 
Family Income .Attendees in Total Public 

$15,000 and over 64 

$7,000-$ 14,999 49 

Under $7,000 29 

Source: Opinion Research Corporation. 

Table 2-16 

United States 

Frequency of Movie Attendance bv Sex. 1976 

Age 12 and Over 

Female 
(%) 
22 
23 

45 

Source: Opinion Research Corporation. 

c) There is a correlation between education and film 
attendance (Table 2-14). The more education, the more 
film-going, .-\mong those with some college education, 
61 per cent were frequent or occasional film-goers, while 



Attendance 


Male 




(%) 


Frequent 


28 


Occasional 


24 




S2 



93 



only 23 per cent of those with less than high school 
education were frequent or occasional film-goers. 

d) The higher the family income, the more frequent the 
film-going (Table 2-15). 

e) Slightly more males age 12 and over attend films 
frequently than females (Table 2-16). 

f) The total number of movie-goers went up slightly 



from 107.3 million to 109.0 million from 1975 to 1976. 
Since 1969 movie-goers increased by 15 per cent. 

2. Canada 

Some of the characteristics of the movie audience in 
Canada are illustrated in Tables 2-17, 2-18 and 2-19.'* 
The most prominent characteristics illustrated include 
the following: 



Table 2-17 

Distribution of Movie Audience and Frequency of Attendance by Age Group 
(January, February, March 1972) 

Canada 



Age 

14-19 
20-24 
25-34 
35^4 
45-64 
65 H- 

Total 



% of age 
group 
attending 
movies 



59 
60 
43 
31 
20 
7 



Distribution of movie attendance 

Age groups as % of total population 

14 years of age and over attending movies 

Occasional Regular Frequent Total 



35 



22 
12 
23 
19 
21 
3 

100 



30 
18 
23 
14 
14 
2 

100 



40 
26 
19 

8 
7 
1 

100 



29 
18 
22 
14 
15 
2 

100 



Frequency of movie attendance 
% of age group 



Occasional Regular 


Frequent 


27 43 


30 


25 43 


32 


38 43 


19 


47 40 


12 


52 38 


11 


53 38 


9 


36 42 


22 



Source: Secretary of State, A Leisure Study — Canada 1972 (Ottawa. 1973) 



Table 2-18 

Distribution of Movie Audience and Frequency of Attendance by Education 
Canada 

%of educ. 

group Distribution of movie attendance 

attending Educ. group as % of total 



Education 


movies 


population 












Occasional 


Regular 


Frequent 


Tot; 


Under 












grade 9 


16 


18 


12 


12 


14 


Secondary 












not complete 


40 


41 


40 


42 


41 


Secondary 












complete 


46 


20 


22 


21 


21 


Some post- 












secondary 


52 


15 


17 


17 


16 


University 












completed 


57 


7 


9 


8 


8 


Total 


35 


100 


100 


100 


100 



Frequency of movie attendance 
% of educ. group 

Occasional Regular Frequent 



45 


36 


19 


36 


41 


23 


34 


44 


22 


33 


44 


24 


32 


47 


21 


36 


42 


22 



Source: Secretary of State. /( Leisure Study — Canada /972 (Ottawa, 1973) 



94 



Table 2-19 



Distribution of Movie Audience and Frequency of Attendance by Occupation 
Canada 





%of 














occup. 
group 


Distribution 


1 of movie 


attendance 




Occupation 


attending 
movies 


Occup. groups as % of 
total population 










Occasional 


Regular 


Frequent 


Total 


Unemployed 


39 


1 




2 


2 


2 


Managerial 


38 


6 




5 


4 


5 


Professional 


54 


9 




11 


10 


10 


White collar 


44 


19 




22 


23 


21 


Blue collar 














& craftsmen 


34 


19 




16 


19 


18 


Resource ind. 










■■ 




workers 


23 


3 




3 


3 


3 


Housewives 


25 


23 




17 


9 


17 


Students & 














others 


38 


20 




26 


30 


24 



Frequency of movie attendance 
% of occup. group 

Occasional Regular Frequent 

29 45 26 

41 41 17 

33 45 23 

32 44 24 



38 



38 



24 



Total 



35 



100 



100 



100 



100 



41 


39 


20 


48 


40 


12 


30 


42 


28 


36 


42 


22 



Source: Secretary of Stale, A leisure Sludv — Canada IV72 (Ottawa, 1973) 



a) Approximately 35 per cent of the population 
attended at least one movie during the months of 
January. February and March 1972. Of these, approxi- 
mately 36 per cent attended occasionally. 42 per cent 
attended regularly, and 22 per cent attended frequently 
(Table 2-17). 

b) The teenage ( 14-19) group comprised 29 per cent of 
total number of movie-goers. The age group 14-34 
accounted for 69 per cent of the audience while the 
group 14-44 accounted for 83 per cent of the audience 
(Table 2-17). 

c) The teenage group was shown to comprise 40 per 
cent of those who attended movies frequently, vet only 
30 per cent of the teenage group reported that they 
attended frequently. The majonty of movie-goers over 
44 years of age only attended occasionally. 

d) The higher the education, the more film-going. Fiftv- 
seven per cent of those with a university degree 
attended movies while only 16 per cent without any 
secondary education attended. In addition, about two- 
thirds of those with at least some secondary education 
who went to movies attended either regularly or 
frequently. Of those who attended movies, the largest 
group was the one possessing some secondary education 
(41 percent), and of those who attended frequently, this 
group accounted for the largest proportion (42 per cent) 
(Table 2-18). 



e) In terms of the occupations of those attending 
movies, students formed the largest group (24 per cent), 
followed by white-collar workers (21 per cent), blue- 
collar workers and craftsmen ( 18 per cent), and house- 
wives (17 per cent). Professional people accounted for 
only 10 per cent of movie-goers, yet 54 per cent of this 
group attended movies compared to 38 per cent for 
students. Twenty-eight per cent of students attended 
frequently, followed closely by the unemployed (26 per 
cent). The frequency of attendance t)f housewives was 
the lowest (12 per cent) of all occupations. Almost half 
of this group attended only occasionally. 

F. Summary 

Violence, and violence combined with sexuality and 
profanity, has become increasingly common in feature 
films in the past se\ eral years as is evidenced bv the 
trend in film ratings. Theatrical feature film is in compe- 
tition with television and to encourage cinema attend- 
ance, movie-makers believe that they must offer 
something diflTerent than that shown on television. 
There is a belief that films must play to the emotions, 
arouse excitement, generate fear, and shock audiences. 
Movies are not directed to the elderly, who form only a 
small proportion of the movie audience, as film 
audience demographics reveal, but to the younger 
generations who are more likel\ to respond fiivourably 
to the sensationalism that these films attempt to 



95 



generate. Consequently, graphic violence, gruesome 
physical conflict and death, sexuality, profanity, et 
cetera, which are treated with caution and reservations 
on television, are extensively and intensively exploited 
in theatrical film. The only restraining forces are film 
censor boards and the obscenit\ provisions of the 
Criminal Code. 

Comedies, family-tvpe action adventure, drama, and 
traditional romance themes can still be found in feature 
films but are declining. These themes are standard fare 
on television and appear to be less versatile for the 
purposes of differentiation than theatrical movie- 
makers seek. It appears that more can be done with 
themes of violence to attract and hold audience 
attention or interest. There is a feeling among movie- 
makers that the violence film, though not necessarily 
less expensive, is a relatively "safer" one for low-budget 
productions and is also easier to produce. 
Action/adventure and romance films require a good 
story: comedies generally require good scripts and good 
acting; drama generally involves character involvement 
and development, and emotional and intellectual 
conflict. Violence, or physical conflict, on the other 
hand, mav be portraved in a variety of ways, without 
star performers, and frequently even with weak scripts 
or stories - a thin thread of continuity to hold violent 
episodes or scenes together may sufficq. 

There is no simple, consistent relationship between 
film themes, costs of production and box office receipts. 
There are too many variables involved in these relation- 
ships to permit a meaningful isolation and analysis of 
them. Films depicting violence have generally done 
reasonably well at the box-office and these include both 
high-budget and low-budget films. If movie-makers 
believe that violence is what people wish to see and 
production of such films is on the whole profitable, then 
they will produce them. Market forces and the profit 
motive will prevail. And until public tastes change and 
are reflected in significant audience reductions, or 
movie-makers perceive tastes to be changing, it is 
unlikely that there will be anv significant change in the 
direction that film themes have taken in recent years. 

The Canadian film industry is very small as is the 
Canadian film market. It is highly unlikely that the 
industry, if confined to the domestic market, can 
develop to produce major feature films and do so 
profitably. Most Canadian films are low-budget, 
averaging less than $1 million in companson to the U.S. 
average of $3 million. These films must compete with 
U.S. films both domestically and internationally. 
Canada and the U.S. are practically a common market 
for U.S. films. Audience demographics and tastes 
appear to be similar. U.S. producers and distributors 
have established subsidiaries in Canada for the distri- 
bution and exhibition of films. The major distributors 
and exhibitors in this country are foreign owned and 
controlled and they are assured of a ready source of 
supply of films. While there is a continuous flow of films 



from the U.S. to Canada, the flow of Canadian films to 
the U.S. in comparison is almost non-existent, partly 
from the lack of^manv Canadian-produced films and 
partly due to distribution diflficulties. To break into the 
U.S. market as well as compete with U.S. films domesti- 
cally. Canadian producers have found it necessary to 
follow the Hollywood format using themes which 
Canadian and U.S. audiences are accustomed to and 
appear to prefer. .■Vnd this has included themes of 
violence, horror, and sexuality, and restricted-audience 
films. 



96 



Chapter Three 

Television 



A. Network Prograniining and Program Production 
in the United States 

/. Economic Factors in Network Programming 
The objective of television networks and stations is not 
to produce programs but to produce audiences. These 
are sold to advertisers who seek mass audiences. The 
advertiser, however, is interested in more than just the 
size of the audience; he is also mterested in the 
demographics of the audience (age, sex, income, et 
cetera). The objective is to reach and maximize that 
segment of the audience which may have an interest in 
his product or in which an interest may be stimulated. 

In seeking audiences, the television networks are in 
keen competition with one another. The television 
industry, with its relatively few networks, can be 
classified as an oligopoly - an industry in which there 
are only a few large producers, producing similar or 
substitutive products. The close substitutability of the 
products results in very intensive competition and 
rivalry among producers. Frequently, actions of one 
producer will result in reactums and adjustments by 
others in battle to retain their relative competitive 
positions. In oligopoly, the total demand or market is 
relatively constant and if the sales of one oligopolist 
increases, the sales of his competitors can be expected 
to decrease. The producers are furthermore aware that 
any action taken by one will bring reactions by compe- 
titors. If producer A markets a new, differentiated 
product and it is successful in the market, producers B 
and C will imitate A by producing similar products or 
close substitutes in an attempt to maintain their shares 
of the market. Producer A, therefore, may find that the 
increase in his share is only temporary. In addition to 
fear of retaliation, the uncertainty of consumer response 
to a highly different product is also a factor in an 
oligopolistic industry. Large increases in inputs (costs) 
to vastly change the character or quality of the product 
are generally avoided because of the uncertainty of 
market response, together with the fear of retaliation by 
competitors if market response is favourable. 

Television networks or stations operate under a cost 
constraint since there is generally a fixed level of 
aggregate advertising revenue (for which television must 



compete with other communications media). It is 
generally assumed that the long-run objective is to 
maximize profits that is, the difference between adver- 
tising revenue and cost. Obviously, the larger the 
audience that a television program can attract, the more 
revenue it can generate from advertisers. The television 
station will therefore attempt to obtain the maximum 
audience for any given cost. Television networks have a 
general knowledge of the size of the potential audience 
during the various viewing periods of the day and 
engage in rating their own and their rivals" program 
audiences. In its programming, a network or station will 
offer that type of program which will attract the largest 
audience, given the cost constraint. Consequently 
certain types of programs are presented in certain time 
periods, and certain types are presented frequently (i.e. 
light entertainment) while others (i.e. ballet and opera) 
are rarely shown. A network or station will offer a 
similar type of program to other networks if it is shown 
that its share of the audience is larger with this type of 
program than it would be if a different type of program, 
with approximately the same cost, were chosen. 
Successful programs will be imitated by rival networks 
and furthermore, each network itself will produce dupli- 
cates or "spin-offs" of a successful program type. The 
result is very little diversity. Furthermore, a network 
will generally avoid large increases in costs to try to 
improve quality, or radical sea.sonal changes, in 
attempts to increase its share of the audience, first, 
because of the uncertaintv of audience response, and 
secondly because any large increase in the share of one 
will likely only be temporary as rivals will make corre- 
sponding adjustments. Large increases in costs by all 
networks may increase the total audience in a given 
time period, but the increase in the share of each 
network may be small relative to the cost increase and 
therefore uneconomical. There are more likely to be 
small marginal input increases or seasonal changes in 
program content by each network as each tries to keep 
even with its competitors or tries to keep slightly ahead." 
In summary, the oligopolistic nature of the television 
industrv leads to: 



97 



a) lack of diversity in programming in a particular time 
period (i.e. a few program types dominate prime time); 

b) homogeneity in program scheduling (i.e. the content 
of the schedule of one network in not markedly 
different from that of another); 

c) relative stability in programming from one season to 
the next. 

In the following sections each of these oligopolistic 
tendencies are examined in greater detail, with 
particular reference to the violence content in television 
programs. 

2. Classification of Network Prime-Time Programs 
For purposes of analysis, prime-time television 
programs have been grouped into eight categories. 
These are: 

a) Police/detective. This category includes all police 
and detective series. It is characterized by conflict 
leading to violence and death, and is considered to have 
the most violent content of all categories (i.e. Kojak, 
Baretia). 

b) Situation comedy. The emphasis is on the characters 
in the program and the situations in which they find 
themselves (i.e. All in the Family). 

c) Action/Adventure. This category includes family 
action/adventure type programs (TTje Waltons, Little 
House on the Prairie), as well as fast-paced physical 
action, excitement, and conflict, some of it violent (the 
Bionic series, Spencer's Pilots, et cetera). 

d) Drama. In this category the stress is on non-violent 
conflict of an intellectual or emotional rather than 
physical nature (i.e. the medical drama Marcus Welby). 

e) Movie. Includes movies made for television and 
theatrical film features, and may be violent or non-vio- 
lent. 

Variety. Included in this group are musical/comedy 
varieties (i.e. Sonny and Cher. Carol Burnett Show). 
g) Sports. 

h) Other. This category consists primarily of 
documentary/ public aff"airs programs and special event 
programs (i.e. 60 Minutes, The Big Event). 

Of these categories of television programs, the police/ 
detective and some of the movies could be considered to 
contain the greatest amount of violent content in the 
explicit or graphic sense. The violence that may appear 
on the action/adventure programs is generally more 
muted with very few explicit scenes of shooting or 
killing (except for a program such as The Quest which 
was recently rated as among the most violent of all 
programs). It is extremely diflficult to compare programs 
for their violent content as violent scenes must be taken 
within the context of the nature of the program. 
Certainly the old cowboy-westerns were frequently 
filled with shooting and fist-fighting. But the shooting 
was long-range with little or no evidence of blood- 



letting or contorted expressions. To measure or 
compare violence by simply tabulating the number of 
gunshots, knifings, fist-fights, automobile hit-and-run 
scenes, or other acts of a similar nature, may not be very 
meaningful. On such a basis the Bugs 
Bunny / Roadrunner Hour, shown for children on 
Saturday morning, could probably be considered the 
most violent hour on television, with the poor coyote in 
the Roadrunner al the receiving end of countless 
methods of potential demise. Similarly, the antics of the 
Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy cannot be compared 
with some of the scenes found in Charles Bronson 
movies, or the seemingly mindless, eccentric acts of 
violence in such movies as Missouri Breaks and The 
Texas Chain Saw Massacre. 

Some studies have attempted to build violence 
indexes to measure and compare degrees of violence 
among programs, but the usefulness of such indices 
remains questionable. Attempts have also been made to 
rank programs in terms of degrees of violence. Recently 
the National Citizens Committee for Broadcasting in 
the U.S. ranked the ten most violent and the ten least 
violent programs for the six-week period ending July 23, 
1976, with the following results:^ 

Most Violent 

/. S.W.A.T 
2. The Rookies 
5. Sara 

4. Sunday Movie 

5. Friday Movie 

6. Rockford Files 

7. Starsky and Hutch 

8. MacMillan/Columbo 

9. Saturday Movie 

10. Joe Forrester 

Least Violent 

7. Bob Newhart Show 

2. Mary Tyler Moore 

3. Welcome Back, Kotter 

4. Chico and the Man 

5. Rhoda 

6. Doc 

7. The Practice 

8. The Waltons 

9. Little House on the Prairie 

10. Barney Miller 

The same study found that of the three major 
networks in the U.S., nbc had the most violence, 
followed by abc and then cbs. 

i. Diversity in Network Programming 
The percentage of prime time absorbed by each of the 
eight categories outlined in the previous section is 
shown in Table 3-1 for each network and for the 
networks combined for the seasons 1974-75, 1975-76, 



98 



Table 3-1 

U.S. Network Prime-time Season Programs, 1974-75 to 1976-77 

Program Distribution hv Class of Program 

(Percentage of IVeekly Hours of Programming in Prime Time) 



Class of Progr; 


im 


ABC 






CBS 






NBC 






Combined Networks 






74-75 


75-76 


76-77 


74-75 


75-76 


76-77 


75-75 


75-76 


76-77 


74-75 


75-76 76-77 


Police/Detective 


28.6 


31.8 


22.7 


28.6 


27.9 


27.3 


32.6 


34.9 


25.0 


29.9 


31.5 


25.0 


Siluation-Com 


edy 


9.5 


13.6 


18.2 


19.0 


25.6 


31.8 


4.7 


9.3 


6.8 


11.0 


16.2 


18.9 


Action/Adventure 


• 19.0 


18.2 


9.1 


19.0 


9.3 


9.1 


27.9 


27.9 


27.3 


22.0 


18.5 


15.2 


Drama 




4.8 


4.5 


9.1 


9.5 


14.0 


4.5 


4.7 


9.3 


4.5 


6.3 


9.2 


6.1 


Movie 




23.8 


18.2 


18.2 


19.0 


9.3 


9.1 


25.6 


18.6 


25.0 


22.8 


15.4 


17.4 


Variety 




4.8 


4.5 


13.6 


4.8 


14.0 


13.6 


- 


- 


4.5 


3.1 


6.2 


10.6 


Sports 




9.5 


9.1 


9.1 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


3.1 


3.1 


3.0 


Other 




- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


4.5 


4.7 


- 


6.8 


1.6 


- 


3.8 


Total 




100.0 


100.0 


100.0 


100.0 


100.0 


100.0 


100.0 


100.0 


100.0 


100.0 


100.0 


100.0 


Table 3-2 





























Television Network Prime-time Programming: Seasons 1974-75, to 1976-77 
Diversity, Homogeneity, and Slahilily Indicators 



ABC 

Possible 
Indicator Range 74-75 75-76 76-77 

Diversity 0-62.5 28.6 31.8 41.9 
Homo- 



geneity" 



0-600 



Stability^ 0-200 



14.7 36.5 



( BS 

74-75 75-76 76-77 
33.4 32.5 27.3 

40.4 21.6 



NBC 

74-75 75-76 76-77 
13.9 18.6 22.7 

23.2 35.5 



Combined Networks 

74-75 75-76 76-77 
25.3 33.8 38.7 

112 168 181 
25.3 25.9 



•Measures Ihc extent to which prime time is dominated by a few program categories. The higher the score, the greater the diversity. 

•■Measures the extent to which the content of the network schedules resemble one another The higher the score, the greater the difference between 
schedules. 

'Measures the extent to which network schedules change t>om season to season. The higher the score, the greater the change in schedules. 

Source: Table 3 I 



and 1976-77. From the data in this table, diversity 
indicators have been constructed following the 
technique of Dominick and Pearce' and are shown in 
Table 3-2. (The table also contains indicators 
constructed to measure homogeneitv and stability in 
programming. These will be discussed later.) The 
diversity indicator is a quantitative estimate of the 
diversity in network programming showing the extent to 
which prime time is dominated by a few program 
categories. It is constructed by summing the percentage 
of weekly hours of programming in prime time 
absorbed by the three top categories per season and 
subtracting this sum from 100. It can range from zero, 
which means all content is accounted for by three 
program categories or fewer, to 62.5, which would show 



content divided equally into eight categories. The lower 
the index, the smaller the range of choices between 
program types available to the viewers. 

As shown in Table 3-2, a diversity index has been 
calculated for each network and for the networks 
combined. For the latter, the diversity indicator has 
increased steadily over the past three seasons from 25.3 
to 38.7, indicating a trend toward greater diversity and a 
lesser degree of dominance by a few categories. Interest- 
ingly enough, Dominick and Pearce, applying this 
technique over the 1953-1974 period and using 14 
program categories (which means a maximum score of 
79), showed a sharp decline in the diversity index from 
approximately 60 in 1953 to 20 by 1974.-* Although the 
index did lluctuale over short periods (from approxi- 



99 



mately 25 in 1968 to 40 in 1970), the long-term trend 
was clear - more and more of prime time was being 
devoted to fewer and fewer program types.- Whether 
the 1974-75/1976-77 period trend is just another short- 
run fluctuation or the beginning of a reversal of the 
long-run declining trend is indeterminate. 

The diversity indicator for the individual networks 
also shows a trend towards greater program diversity in 
ABC and NBC, while the indicator follows an opposite 
trend for cbs. The indicators also show nbc to be the 
least diversified. 

For each of the three seasons shown, four categories, 
namely, police/detective, situation comedy, 
action/adventure, and movies have accounted for over 
75 per cent of the programs shown during the 8:00 p.m. 
to 1 1 :00 p.m. viewing period bv the three networks 
combined. Each of the networks has concentrated on no 
more than three of these four types of programs, but for 
each network, police/detective programs have been 
consistently more dominant than any other category in 
the three seasons considered. In the 1974-75 season, the 
three categories of programs where violence is usually 
found, namely, police' detective, movies, and 
action /adventure, consituted 71.4 per cent of the 
content of abc, 66.6 per cent of cbs, and 86.1 per cent of 
NBC. In 1976-77 the percentage of content devoted to 
police/detective programs was reduced by all three 
networks, the largest decreases being on abc and nbc. 
ABC and CBS reduced action/adventure by one-half and 
also decreased the time allotted to movies. In 1976-77, 
the three categories accounted for 50.0 per cent of 
content for abc and 45.5 per cent for cbs, but continued 
to constitute a relatively high 77.3 per cent of nbc 
prime-time content. 



police/detective programs and considerably more on 
situation comedy. In 1975-76, 31.8 per cent of cbs 
content in prime time was situation comedy as 
compared to 18.2 per cent for abc and only 6.8 per cent 
for NBC. Police/detective programs, however, consti- 
tuted approximately one-quarter of the content of all 
three networks. 

A detailed picture of the program schedules of the 
three networks for the seasons 1974-75, 1975-76, and 
1976-77 is presented in Tables 3-3, 3-4, and 3-5. From 
these tables. Table 3-6 was computed showing the 
number of hours per week devoted to each of the 
program categories by each network in each of the three 
prime-time hours, 8-9:00 p. m., 9-10:00 p.m., and 10- 
1 1 :00 p.m. for each of the three seasons considered. The 
similarity or homogeneity of the content of the 
schedules in each of these time periods is readily 
apparent. Action/adventure programs are shown 
almost totally in the 8-9:00 p.m. period as are variety 
programs. Situation comedies were also highly concen- 
trated in this hour, except in 1976-77 when cbs began to 
place more emphasis on these programs and moved the 
majority of them to the 9-10:00 p.m. period. Except for 
this development in cbs in 1976-77, and its experiment 
with drama in 1975-76, 70 per cent of the periods 9- 
10:00 p.m. and 10-1 1:00 p.m. during the week have 
been devoted to police/detective programs and movies 
by each of the networks in the three seasons considered. 



4. Homogeneity of Network Schedules 
From Table 3-1 a homogeneity indicator was calculated 
to determine the extent to which the content of the 
schedules of the networks resembled each other. It is 
constructed by subtracting each network's percentage 
of time per program category from the percentage of 
each of the other two and summing the absolute differ- 
ences. The index can range from zero, when the 
schedules are exactly alike, to 600, when the schedules 
are maximally different from each other." The 
homogeneity indicators for the three .seasons 1974-75, 
1975-76, and 1976-77 are 1 12, 168, and 181 respectively. 
While the recent trend is towards greater differences in 
the content of schedules between the networks, there is 
still a large degree of homogeneity. Dominick and 
Pearce showed that the long-run trend, broken by short- 
run fluctuations, was toward greater and greater 
homogeneity or similarity of content.^ 

An examination of the content of the schedules of the 
three networks for 1976-77 shows more similarity 
between abc and cbs than between either of these two 
and NBC, abc places more stress on drama, movies, and 
sports than does cbs, which places greater emphasis on 



100 



Table 3-3 

1974-75 Network Prime-time Season: Program Schedules 
ABC ( BS 



NBC 











Program 






Program 






Program 


Day 


Time 


Series Title 


Rating 


Class 


Series Title 


Rating 


Class 


Series Title 


Rating 


Class 


Mon. 


8.00 
8.30 


The Rookies 


21.0 


Pol/Det 


Gunsmoke 


20.9 


Ac/ Ad 


Born Free 


17.6 


Ac/ Ad 




9.00 


NFL Monday 
Night Football 


19.9 


Sports 


Maude 


24.8 


Sitcom 


NBC Monday 
Night Movies 


19.7 


Movie 




9.30 








Rhoda 


26.6 


Sitcom 










10:00 








Medical Center 2\.l 


Drama 








Tues. 


8:00 


Happy Days 


17.9 


Sitcom 


Good Times 


23.4 


Sitcom 


Adam-12 


16.4 


Pol/Det 




8:30 


Tuesday Movie 


19.2 


Movie 


M*A*S*H 


25.2 


Sitcom 


SBC World 


20.4 


Movie 






of the Week 












Premiere Movies 






9:00 








Hawaii Five-0 


22.4 


Pol/Det 










9:30 






















10:00 


Marcus Welhy, 
M.D. 


17.5 


Drama 


Barnaby Jones 


17.6 


Pol/Det 


Police Story 


19.7 


Pol/Det 


Wed. 


8:00 
8:30 


That's My 
Mama 

Wednesday 

Movie 

of the Week 


19.8 

20.7 


Sitcom 
Movie 


Sons & 
Daughters 


15.6 


Drama 


Little House 
on the Prairie 


23.6 


Ac/Ad 




9:00 








Cannon 


19.1 


Pol/Det 


Lucas Tanner 


18.1 


Drama 




9:30 






















10:00 


Get Christie 


16.8 


Pol/Det 


The Manhunter \9.9 


Pol/Det 


Petrocelli 


16.1 


Pol/Det 






Love 


















Thurs. 


9:00 

9:30 


Streets of 
San Francisco 


22.0 


Pol/Det 


CBS Thursday 
Night Movies 


18.2 


Movie 


Ironside 


14.4 


Pol Det 




10:00 


Harry-0 


17.2 


Pol/Det 








Movin ' On 


17.2 


Ac /Ad 


Fri, 


8:00 


Kodiak 


9.9 


Ac/Ad 


Planet of the 
Apes 


16.1 


Ac Ad 


Sanford & Son 


28.7 


Sitcom 




8:30 


Six Million 
Dollar Man 


12.1 


Ac /Ad 








Chico & 
The Man 


28.4 


Sitcom 




9:00 








CBS Friday 
Night Movies 


18.9 


Movie 


The RcKkford 
Files 


21.7 


Poi'Det 




9:30 


The Texas 
Wheelers 


11.0 


Ac/Ad 
















10:00 


The Night 
Stalker 


12.0 


Pol/Det 








Police Woman 


20.2 


Pol Det 



101 



ABC 



Program 
Day Time Series Title Rating Class 



CBS 



Program 
Series Title Rating Class 



NBC 



Program 

Series Title Rating Class 



Sat. 8:00 The New Land 7.9 Ac/Ad 
8:30 



9:00 Kung Fu 
9:30 

10;00 Nakia 



Sun. 7:00 
7:30 



All in the 
Family 

Paul Sand in 21.8 Sitcom 

Friends & 

Lovers 

11.9 Ac/Ad Mary Tyler 23.6 Sitcom 

Moore Show 

Bob Newhart 22.4 Sitcom 
Show 

12.7 Pol/Det Carol Burneii 19.4 Variety 
Show 

Apple's Way 17.9 Ac/Ad 



29.4 Sitcom Emergency 19.8 Ac/ Ad 



8:00 Sonny Comedy 14.4 Variety 
8:30 



'^BC Sat. Night 19.8 Movie 
a/ //le Movies 



Kojak 



9:00 ABC Sunday 20.7 Movie 
N/g/i/ Movie 

9:30 A/a«m.x- 

10:00 



21.6 Pol/Det 



19.4 Pol/Det 



Wonderful 23.2 Ac/Ad 
of Disney 



\BC Sunday 22.9 Pol/Det 
Mystery Movie 



vBc Reports 



News 



Source." 1974-75 Network Prime-time Season at a Glance." Variety, Sept. 18, 1974, pp. 46-47. 
"TV Series Season-lo-Date Ratings. Sept. 9-Oct. 20," Variety. Oct. 30, 1974 



102 



Table 3-4 

1975-76 Network Prime-lime Season: Program Schedules 



ABC 



Day 

Mon. 



Program 
Time Series Title Rating Class 

8:00 Riirharv Coa.sl 12.0 Ac- Ad 



8:30 

9:00 \FL Monday 19.8 Sports 
Nighl Football 



Tues. 



30 
00 



Wed, 



8:00 Happy Days 19.1 Sitcom 

8:30 Welcome Back. \%.(i Sitcom 
Kolter 

9:00 The Rookies 20.2 Pol/Det 

9:30 

10:00 Marcus Welbv. 20.0 Drama 
M.D. 

8:00 When Things 17.3 Sitcom 
Were Rotten 

8:30 That's My 
Mama 



9:00 Baretta 



5.6 Sitcom 
9.1 Pol/Det 



9:30 

10:00 Starskv 21.1 Pol Det 

& Hutch 

Thurs. 8:00 Barney Miller 18.1 Sitcom 

8:30 Onthe Rocks 18.9 Sitcom 

9:00 Streets of 21.6 Pol/Det 

5an Francisco 



Fri. 



30 

00 Harry-O 

00 Mo/7/7c 0«e 

30 



18.1 
10.4 



Pol Det 
Ac Ad 



9:00 I Bc Friday 
Night Movie 

9:30 

10:00 



16.6 Movie 



t BS 

Series Title 
Rhoda 

Phyllis 

All in the 
Familv 



Program 
Rating Class 

24.6 Sitcom 



26.6 
32.0 

27.3 



Maude 
Medical Center 22.5 
Good Times 21.7 
Joe & Sons 16.9 



Switch 

Beacon Hill 

Tonv Orlando 
& Dawn 

Cannon 



18.6 
13.1 



Sitcom 
Sitcom 

Sitcom 
Drama 
Sitcom 
Sitcom 

Pol/Det 

Drama 

Variety 



18.5 Pol/Det 



Kate McShane 12.3 
The Waltons 22.5 



rfls Thursday 
Night at the 
Movies 



Big Eddie 
M*A*S*H 



13.1 
17.9 



Drama 
Ac/Ad 

Movie 



Sitcom 
Sitcom 



Hawaii Five-O 15.5 Pol Del 



NBC 



Program 
Series Title Rating Class 

The Invisible 16.6 Ac/ Ad 
Man 



sbc Mondav 17.4 Movie 

Night at the 

Movies 



Movin ' On 



17.2 Ac/ Ad 



Police Story 17.2 Pol/Det 

Joe Forrester 20J Pol/Det 

Little House Ac/ Ad 

on the Prairie 



Doctors 16.7 Drama 

Hospital 



Petrocelli 



15.5 Pol/Det 



Montefuscos 11.4 Sitcom 
Fay 12.3 Sitcom 

Ellery Queen 15.2 Pol/Det 



Medical Story 13.3 Drama 

Sanford&Son 26.4 Sitcom 

Chicoandthe 21.5 Sitcom 
Man 

TheRockford 19.7 Pol/Det 
Files 



Barnaby Jones 14.6 Pol Det Police Woman 20.7 Pol/Det 



103 



ABC 



CBS 



NBC 



Program Program Program 

Day Time Series Title Rating Class Series Title Rating Class Series Title Rating Class 



Sat. 



Sun. 



8:00 Saiurday Night 12 
Lhe with 
Howard Cosell 

8:30 

9:00 S.W.A.T. 



Variety The Jeffersons 19.0 Sitcom Emergency 18.3 Ac/ Ad 



9:30 

10:00 Mull Helm 

7:00 Swiss Fiimilv 
Robinson 

7:30 

8:30 Six Million 
Dollar Man 

8:30 

9:00 4 BC Sunday 
Nighl Movie 

9:30 

10:00 



14.5 Pol'Det 

12.8 Pol/Det 

15.7 Ac/ Ad 

24.8 Ac/Ad 
21.2 Movie 



Doc 

Mary Tyler 
Moore Show 

Boh Newhart 
Show 

Carol Burneii 
Show 

Three for lhe 
Road' 



Cher 



16.9 
20.4 

20.0 
19.7 



Sitcom 
Sitcom 

Sitcom 
Variety 
Ac/Ad 



Kojak 



Bronk 



17.0 Variety 



21.3 Pol/Det 



Source: "1975-76 Network Pnme-time Season al a Glance." Varietv. Sept. 3. 1975. pp 
"Television Series Ratings after Seven Weeks." Variety. Nov. 5, 1975. p. 46, 



15.9 

61-66. 



Pol/Det 



\BC Saturday 
Nighl at the 
Movies 



Wonderful 
World ' 
of Disney 

The Family 
Holvak 



16.1 



Movie 



Ac/Ad 



15.3 Ac/ Ad 



Sunday Mysiery\9.0 Pol/Det 
Movie 



104 



Table 3-5 

1976-77 Network Prime-time Season: Program Schedules 



ABC 



Program 
Day Time Series Title Rating Class 

Mon. 8:00 Captain & 19.9 Variety 

Tennille 

8:30 

9:00 s Ft. Monday 21.1 Sports 
Night Football 

9:30 
10:00 

Tues. 8:00 Happy Days 31.0 Sitcom 



CBS 

Series Title 
Rhoda 

Phyllis 
Maude 



Program 
Rating Class 

19.6 Sitcom 



Airs Fair 

Executive 
Suite 

Tonv Orlando 
& Dawn 
Rainbow Hour 



18.9 
20.0 

18.0 
15.1 



Sitcom 
Sitcom 

Sitcom 
Drama 



12.9 Variety 



8:30 Laverne & 
Shirley 

9:00 Rich Man. 
Poor Man 

9:30 



10 



30.2 Sitcom 
21.6 Drama 



Wed. 8 



M*A*S*H 

One Day at a 
Time 

Switch 

Good Times 

Ball Four 



1:00 Family 19.2 Drama 

:00 Bionic Woman 24.1 Ac /Ad 

8:30 

9:00 Baretta 24.0 Pol/Det All in the 

Family 

9:30 

10:00 Charlie's 21 .A Pol/Det 

A ngels 

Thurs. 8:00 Welcome Back. 2\.l Sitcom 
Kotter 

8:30 Barney Miller 20.7 Sitcom 

9:00 Tony Randall 19.6 Sitcom 
Show 

9:30 Nancy Walker 17.8 Sitcom 
Show 

10:00 Streets of 18.6 Pol Det Barnaby Jones 

San Francisco 



.4 lice 

Blue Knight 

Waltons 



26.0 

23.1 

16.6 
20.8 

15.3 
24.3 

21.1 
15.2 

22.5 



Sitcom 

Sitcom 

Pol/Det 
Sitcom 
Sitcom 
Sitcom 

Sitcom 
Pol Det 

Ac/Ad 



NBC 



Program 

Series Title Rating Class 

Little House 22. 1 Ac/ Ad 
on the Prairie 



SBC Monday 25.7 Movie 

Night at the 

Movies 



Baa Baa 18.2 Ac/ Ad 

Black Sheep 



Policewoman 18.6 Pol/Det 



Police Story 18.0 Pol Det 
The Practice 12.8 Sitcom 



SBC Movie of 13.8 Movie 
the Week 



The Quest 13.6 Ac/ Ad 

Gemini Man 14.5 Ac/ Ad 



Hawaii Five-O 21.8 Pol Det Bestsellers 18.7 Drama 



Fri. 8:00 Donny & Marie M.i Variety 

8:30 

9:00 ABC Friday 21.5 Movie 
Night Movie 

9:30 

10:00 



Spencer's 
Pilots 



CBS Friday 
Night Movie 



18.4 
10.1 



Pol Det 
Ac/ Ad 



Van Dyke & 13.0 Variety 

Company 

Sanford&Son 20.8 Sitcom 



Chico & 
The Man 



15.7 Movie 



19.4 Sitcom 
Rockford Files 19.2 Pol Det 



Serpico 



15.5 Pol/Det 



105 



ABC 



NBC 



Program Program Program 

Day Time Series Title Rating Class Series Title Rating Class Series Title Rating Class 



Sat: 



Sun. 



00 Holmes & Kovo 14.4 Sitcom The Jeffersons 20.0 Sitcom 

30 Mr.T.&Tina 14.1 Sitcom Doc 15.7 Sitcom 

00 Starsky& 18.5 Pol/Det Mary Tyler 19.6 Sitcom 

Hutch Moore Show 



9:30 BobNewhart 19.4 Sitcom 

Show 

10:00 Most Wanted 16.0 Pol/Det Carol Burnett 18.3 Variety 

Show 



Emergency 18.1 

^BC Saturday 19.4 
Movies 



Ac/Ad 
Movie 



7:00 
7:30 


Cos 


12.9 


Variety 


60 Minutes 20.6 


News 


Wonderful 19 

World 

of Disney 


8:00 


Six Million 
Dollar Man 


24.0 


Ac/Ad 


Sonny & Cher 16.6 
Show 


Variety 


Sunday Mystery! 1 
Movie 


8:30 














9:00 


ABC Sunday 
Night Movie 


22.8 


Movie 


Kojak 18.1 


Pol/Det 




9:30 












The Big Event 24 



Ac/Ad 



Pol/Det 



10:00 



Delvecchio 



15.5 Pol/Det 



Source: "Network Prime-time Season at a Glance." Vanen: Sept. 15, 1975. pp. 50-54. 
"Regular Series' Top 40 After F)ve Weeks." Varieiv. Nov. 3, 1976. p. 42. 
"Network Series Rating Averages," Variety, Jan. 5. 1977, p. 86 



Gala 
Wkly 
Special 



106 



Table 3-6 



Television Network Prime-lime Programming: Seasons 1974-75, to 1976-77 
Program Distribution hv Time Slot 

Program Category and Hours 
Police Situation- Action/ 



Year 


Time 


Network 


Detective 


Comedy 


Adventure Drama 


Movie 


Variety 


1974-75 


8-9:00 


ABC 


1 


2 


2 


_ 


1 


1 






CBS 


.5 


2 


3.5 


1 


- 


- 






NBC 


.5 


1 


5 


- 


.5 


- 




9-10:00 


ABC 


1 


- 


2 


- 


3 


- 






CBS 


3 


2 


- 


- 


2 


- 






NBC 


3 


- 


- 


1 


3 


- 




10-11:00 


ABC 


4 


- 


- 


1 


1 


- 






CBS 


3 


- 


- 


1 


2 


1 






NBC 


3 


- 


1 


- 


2 


- 


1975-76 


8-9:00 


ABC 


- 


3 


3 


- 


- 


1 






CBS 


- 


4 


1 


- 


- 


2 






NBC 


- 


2 


5 


- 


- 


- 




9-10:00 


ABC 


4 


- 


- 


- 


2 


- 






CBS 


4 


2 


- 


- 


1 


- 






NBC 


4 


- 


- 


1 


2 


- 




10-11:00 


ABC 


3 


_ 


_ 


1 


2 


- 






CBS 


2 


- 


- 


3 


1 


I 






NBC 


4 


- 


- 


1 


2 


- 


1976-77 


8-9:00 


ABC 


_ 


3 


2 


_ 


_ 


2 






CBS 


_ 


3 


2 


- 


- 


2 






NBC 


1 


1.5 


4 


- 


.5 


- 




9-10:00 


ABC 


2 


1 


- 


I 


2 


- 






CBS 


2 


4 


- 


- 


1 


- 






NBC 


2 


- 


- 


1 


3 


- 




10-11:00 


ABC 


3 


— 


_ 


1 


2 


- 






CBS 


4 


_ 


- 


1 


1 


1 






NBC 


2 


- 


1 


- 


2 


1 



Sports Other 



Source Tables 3-3. :t 4 •> ^ 



107 



An examination of Tables 3-3, 3-4. and 3-5 shows that 
frequently the same types of programs are pitted against 
each other for at least two of the networks during the 9- 
10:00 p.m. and 10-11 :00 p.m. periods and the third 
network will show a close substitute. For example, 
police/detective programs, if not pitted against each 
other will be pitted against a movie. There are of course 
exceptions, as well as the cbs tendency to show a 
situation-comedy opposite police/detective programs or 
the movies in the other networks in the 9-10:00 p.m. 
time slot. These situation-comedies have tended to do 
well in the ratings, or even bettered the ratings of the 
police/detective programs or the movies against which 
they competed for audiences. It would appear that 
programs depicting violence (i.e. police/ detective and 
movies) which account for the majority of the content in 
the later hours of prime-time can be successfully 
countered only with good comedy. The ratings of 
drama and variety during these hours, for the most part, 
fall below those of police /detective, movies, and 
situation-comedies. 

5. Stability in Network Programming 
Networks normally do not significantly change the 
content of their schedules from season to season. 
Generally some change can be expected and one 
network may make more changes than another, but a 
complete revamping of schedules is highly unlikely, 
primarily due to the uncertainty of viewer reaction. The 
traditional rule of thumb is that approximately two out 
of three "newcomers" in a season will be dropped due 
to low ratings.* Radical changes by a network, if not 
accepted by the audience, could result in a substantial 
drop in that network's ratings and consequent loss of 
revenues. On the other hand, successful changes are 
likely to be imitated by rival networks with consequent 
relatively stable network audience shares. This also 
tends to act as a restraint against major, and perhaps 
costly, changes. 

From Table 3-1 a stability indicator was calculated to 
determine the extent of change from season to season. It 
is derived by subtracting the percentage of time in each 
of the eight categories in any one season from the 
percentages in the preceding season and summing the 
absolute values of the differences.'* The indicator can 
range from zero, showing no change, to 200, when 
maximum change is made. A low indicator value means 
that the content, as divided among the eight categories, 
was essentially the same in a season as that in the 
preceding season. 

The stability indicators are illustrated in Table 3-2. 
For the networks combined, the indicators for the 1974- 
75 to 1975-76 seasons and for the 1975-76 to 1976-77 
seasons are relatively low and similar at 25.3 and 25.9 
respectively. About the same amount of change was 
made in the 1975-76 season over the previous season as 
was made in the 1976-77 season. In 1975-76, there was a 
small increase in the proportion of time devoted to 



police/ detective programs, larger increases in situa- 
tion-comedy, drama, and variety, and a reduction in 
time allotted to movies and action/ adventure. In 1976- 
77 the situation-comedy and variety content continued 
to increase but police detective and drama fell, as did 
action/adventure. Movies, on the other hand, increased. 
At the indivdual network level, the stability indicators 
varied but overall remained relatively low given the 0- 
200 range of possible movement. In 1975-76 the least 
change was made by abc, shown with an indicator of 
14.7, followed by nbc at 23.2. cbs made greater changes, 
with a stability indicator of 40.4, moving toward more 
situation-comedy, drama, and variety programs, while 
reducing action/adventure and movies. In 1976-77, the 
opposite was true as cbs remained relatively stable and 
ABC and NBC made changes, abc followed the cbs move 
of the previous year by increasing situation-comedy 
programs, drama, and variety, and reducing 
action/adventure. Interestingly, while abc increased its 
drama content, both cbs and nbc reversed their earlier 
move and sharply reduced drama. The most significant 
change at nbc was a reduction in police/detective 
programs, offset primarily by an increase in movies. 

6. Costs, Ratings, and Revenues of Television Programs 

The estimated costs of bringing in various programs by 
the three television networks for the three seasons 1974- 
75, 1975-76, and 1976-77, and the Nielsen ratings for 
these programs are shown in Tables 3-7, 3-8, and 3-9. 
From these tables the average costs of the various 
program types and the average ratings have been 
computed and are presented in Table 3-10. As shown in 
this table, movies are the most expensive for the 
networks to acquire, calculated as costs per half-hour, 
followed by police/ detective and action/adventure 
programs. In 1974-75 and 1975-76, the cost to the 
networks of acquiring movies was 50 per cent greater 
than that for police/detective or action/ adventure 
programs. 

Interestingly, police/detective programs were the 
second most expensive (excluding sports). Across the 
seasons from 1974-75 to 1976-77, the average costs of 
police/detective and action/adventure programs did 
not significantly differ, and cost consistently more per 
half-hour than situation-comedies and drama, although 
the latter two were not far behind. For example, in 
1976-77 the average cost per half-hour of programs by 
category were: police/detective $169,000; action/ 
adventure $166,750; situation-comedy $I64,(X); and 
drama $156,875. The average cost of variety programs, 
among the highest of the categories in 1974-75, 
remained relatively constant and by 1976-77 was 
considerably lower than the other programs at $1 19,285. 



108 



1 able 3-7 



1974-75 Network Prime-lime Season: Program Characteristics 



Program Class Series Title 



ABC 

Police- 
Detective 



Situation- 
Comedy 



Action/ 
Adventure 



Drama 

Movie 



Variety 
Sports 

CBS 

Police/ 
Detective 



Situation- 
Comedy 



Gel Christie Love 

Harry-0 

Nakia 

The Night Stalker 
The Rookies 

Streets of San Francisco 

Happy Days 

The Odd Couple 
Paper Moon 
That's Mv Mama 

Kodiak 

Kung Fu 

The New Land 

Six Million Dollar Man 

The Texas Wheelers 

Marcus Welby, M.D. 

ABC Sunday Night Movie 

Tues. Movie of the Week 

Wed. Movie of the Week 

The Sonny Comedy Revue 

NFL Monday Night Football 

Barnabv Jones 

Cannon 

Hawaii Five-O 

Kojak 

The Manhunter 

Mannix 

A II in the Family 

Bob Newhart Show 
Goad Times 
M*A*S*H 





Est. Cost 






Min. 


per 
Episode 

$ 


Supplier 


Niels 
Ratii 


60 


180,000 


Wolper Prods.. Universal Television 


16.8 


60 


200,000 


Warner Bros. Television 


17.2 


60 


180.000 


Columbia Pictures Television 
David Gerber Prods. 


12.7 


60 
60 


190,000 
210,000 


Universal Television 
Spelling-Goldberg Prods. 


12.0 
21.0 


60 


225,000 


Quinn Martm Prods. 


22.0 


30 


105,000 


Paramount Television/Miller- 
Milkis Prods. 


17.9 


30 


105.000 


Paramount Television 


14.2 


30 


105,000 


Paramount Television, Culgean Corp. 


15.1 


30 


100,000 


Columbia Pictures Television/ 
Blye-Beard Prods. 


19.8 


30 


95,000 


Kodiak Prods. Worldvision 


9.9 


60 


215,000 


Warner Bros. Television 


11.9 


60 


200,000 


Warner Bros. Television 


7.9 


60 


225,000 


Universal Television 


12.1 


30 


105.000 


MTM Enterprises 


11.0 


60 


205,000 


Universal Television 


17.5 


120 


675,000 


various 


20.7 


90 


435,000 


various 


19.2 


90 


435.000 


various 


20.7 


60 


205.000 


Blye-Bearde Prods. JayJay Inc., 

Ganch Prods. 


14.4 


120-1-675,000 


ABC Sports 


19.9 


60 


205,000 


Quinn Martin Prods. 


17.6 


60 


205,000 


Quinn Martin Prods. 


19.1 


60 


215.000 


Leonard Freeman Prods. 


22.4 


60 


200,000 


Universal Television 


21.6 


60 


205,000 


Quinn Martin Prods. 19.9 




60 


215,000 


Paramount Television 


19.4 


30 


118,000 


Bud '^'orkin Norman Lear/ 
Tandem Prods. 


29.4 


30 


108.000 


MTM Enterprises 


22.4 


30 


100.000 


Bud Yorkin/Norman Lear Prods. 


23.4 


30 


105.000 


20lh Centurv Fo.x-Television 


25.2 



Program Class 


Series Title 


Min. 


Est. Cost 

per 

Episode 

$ 
110,000 

105,000 


Supplier 




Nielsen 
Rating "74 




Mary Tyler Moore Show 
Maude 


30 
30 


MTM Enterprises 

Bud- Yorkin Norman- 
Tandem Prods. 


-Lear/ 


23.6 
24.8 




Paul Sand in Friends & Lovers 


30 


105.000 


MTM Enterprises 




21.8 




Rhoda 


30 


105,000 


MTM Enterprises 




26.6 


Action/ 
Adventure 


Apple's Way 

Planet of the Apes 
The Waltons 


60 

60 
60 


200,000 

225,000 
205,000 


Lorimar Prods. 

20th Century Fox Television 
Lorimar Prods. 


17.9 

16.1 

25.6 




Gunsmoke 


60 


230,000 


CBS 




20.9 


Drama 


Medical Center 


60 


205,000 


MGM-Television Alfra Prods. 


21.7 




Sons and Daughters 


60 


180,000 


Universal Television 




15.6 


Movies 


CBS Friday Night Movie 


120 


750,000 


various 




18.9 


Variety 


CBS Thursday Night Movie 
Carol Burnett Show 


120 
60 


750,000 
245,000 


various 
Punkin Prods. 




18.2 
19.4 



NBC 

Police/ 
Detective 



Situation- 
Comedy 



Action/ 
Adventure 



Drama 
Movies 



Adam-12 

Ironside 

\BC Sunday Mystery Movie 

Petrocelli 

Police Story 

Police Woman 

The Rock ford Files 

Chico & The Man 
Sanford & Son 
Born Free 

Emergency! 

Little House on the Prairie 

Sierra 

Wonderful World of Disney 

Movin ' On 

Lucas Tanner 

vac Monday Night at the 
Movies 



30 125.000 Mark VII Ltd.-Universal Television 

60 260.000 Harbour Prods.. Universal Television 

90 450.000 Universal Television 

60 215,000 Paramount Television/Miller- 

Milkis Prods. 
60 225,000 Columbia Pictures Television/ 
David Gerber Prods. 

60 210,000 Columbia Pictures Television/ 
David Gerber Prods. 

60 235,000 Universal Television/Cherokee Prods./ 
Public Arts Inc. 

30 90,000 Wolper Prods., Komack Co. 

30 105,000 Bud Yorkin/Norman Lear/ 

Tandem Prods. 
60 215.000 Columbia Pictures Television/ 

David Gerber Prods. 

60 240.000 Mark VII Ltd.. Universal Television 

60 225,000 NBC-Television/Ed Fnendly 

60 225,000 Mark VII Ltd. /Universal Television 

60 245,000 Walt Disney Prods. 

60 210,000 D'Antom-Weitz Television Prods. 

60 225.000 Universal Television/Groverton Prods. 

120 775.000 various 

120 775.000 various 



SBC Saturday Night at the 

Movies 

NBC World Premiere Movies 90 425,000 various 

News/Public nbc Reports 60 175,000 nbc News 

Affairs 

Source: "1974-75 Nelwork Prime-lime Season at a Glance." Varieiv. Sepl. 18, 1974. pp. 46-47. 
"Television Series Season-to-[)aie Ratings, Sep! 9-OcI, 20.." Varieiv. Oct 24. 1974 



16.2 

14.4 
22.9 
16.1 

19.7 
20.2 

21.7 

28.4 
28.7 
17.6 

19.8 
23.6 
15.0 
23.2 
17.2 
18.1 
19.7 

19.8 
20.4 



110 



Table 3-8 



1975-76 Network Prime-Time Season: Program Characteristics 









Est. Cost 


Program Class 


Series Title 


Min. 


per 
Episode 


ABC 








Police- 
Detective 


Baretta 


60 


260.000 




Harry-O 


60 


260,000 




Mall Helm 


60 


260,000 




The Rookies 


60 


260,000 




Starsky <fe Hutch 


60 


245,000 




Streets of San Francisco 
S.W.A.T 


60 
60 


280,000 
260,000 


Situation- 
Comedy 


Barney Miller 
Happv Days 


30 

30 


125,000 
130,000 




On the Rocks 


30 


100,000 




That's My Mama 


30 


110,000 




Welcome Back. Kotter 


30 


95.000 




When Things Were Rotten 


30 


140,000 


Drama 


Marcus Welhy, M.D. 


60 


285,000 


Action/ 


Barharv Coast 


60 


250,000 



Adventure 



Movie 



Variety 
Sports 



Mobile One 

Six Million Dollar Man 

Swiss Family Robinson 

ABC Friday Night Movie 

ABC Sunday Night Movie 

Saturday Night Live 
with Howard Cosell 

NFL Monday Night Football 



CBS 




Police- 


Barnabv Jones 


Detective 






Bronk 




Cannon 




Hawaii Five-0 




Kojak 




Switch 



Supplier 



Nielsen Nielsen 
Rating '75 Rating '74 



60 250,000 



19.1 



Universal Television/Ray 
Huggins/Public Arts Inc. 

Warner Bros. Television 18.1 

Columbia Pictures Television/ 12.8 
Meadway Prods. 

Spelling-Goldberg Prods. 

Spelling-Goldberg Prods. 

QM Prods. 
Spelling-Goldberg Prods. 

Four D Prods. 



20.2 
21.1 

21.6 

14.5 

18.1 



Paramount Television/Miller- 19.1 
Milkis Prods. 

John Rich Prods. 18.9 

Columbia Pictures Television 15.6 

Komack Co. Wolper Prods. 18.6 

Paramount Television 17.3 

Universal Television 20.0 

Paramount Television/Francy 12.0 
Prods. 

Mark VII Ltd/Universal 10.4 
Television 



16.9 

20.5 
21.5 

17.9 
19.8 

I8.I 



60 


280,000 


Universal Television/Silvertoi 
Prods. 


n24.8 


12.1 


60 


255,000 


Irwin-Allen Prods./ 

20th Century-Fox Television 


15.7 


- 


120 


775,000 


various 


16.6 


- 


120 


775,000 


various 


21,2 


20.7 


60 


250,000 


Jilary Enterprises 


12.1 


- 


120-1- 700,000 


.^BC Sports 


20.8 


19.8 


60 


240,000 


QM Prods. 


14.6 


17.6 


60 


240,000 


\i(.M-Television 


15.9 


- 


60 


240,000 


QM Prods. 


18.5 


19.6 


60 


270,000 


Leonard Freeman Ent. 


15.5 


23.2 


60 


270,000 


Universal Television 


21.3 


21.2 


60 


250.000 


Universal Television/Glen 
Larson Prods. 


18.6 


- 



Ill 



Program Class Series Title 



Est. Cost 

per 

Min. Episode 



Supplier 



Nielsen Nielsen 
Rating '75 Rating "74 



Situation- 
Comedy 



Action/ 
Adventure 

Drama 



Movie 
Variety 



NBC 

Police- 
Detective 



A II in I he Family 

Big Eddie 

Bob Newhart Show 

Doc 

Good Times 

The Jeffersons 

Joe & Sons 

Marv Tyler Moore Show 

M*A*S*H 

Maude 

Rhoda 

Three for the Road 

The Wallons 
Beacon Hill 
Kate McShane 

Medical Center 

CBS Thursday Night 
Movies 

Carol Burnett Show 

Cher 

Tony Orlando & Dawn 



Ellery Queen 

Joe Forrester 

.\Bc Sunday Mystery 
Movie 

Petrocelli 
Police Story 
Police Woman 
The Rockford Files 



30 130.000 

30 100,000 

30 120.000 

30 100.000 

30 110,000 

30 1 10,000 

30 100.000 

30 130.000 

30 130.000 

30 120.000 

30 120.000 

60 230.000 

60 240,000 

60 240,000 

60 235,000 

60 265,000 

120 775,000 

60 260,000 

60 250,000 

60 230,000 



60 250,000 

60 250.000 

90 525,000 

60 240,000 

60 260,000 

60 250.000 

60 265.000 



Bud Yorkin/Norman Lear/ 32.0 29.3 
Tandem Prods. 

Concept Plus Two/ 13.1 

Deazedemzandoze Prods. 

MTM Enterprises 20.0 21.7 

MTM Enterprises 16.9 

Bud Yorkin/Norman Lear/ 21.7 24.2 

Tandem Prods. 

T. A. T. Communications Co./ 19.0 
NRW Prods. 

Douglas S. Cramer Prods. 

MTM Enterprises 

20th Century-Fox Television 

Bud Yorkin/Norman Lear/ 
Tandem Prods. 

MTM Enterprises 24.6 26.4 

MTM Enterprises 8.8 



16.9 


- 


20.4 


22.9 


17.9 


26.0 


27.3 


24.7 



Lorimar Prods. 


22.5 


26.3 


Robert Stigwood Org. 


13.1 


- 


Paramount Television/P.A. 


12.3 


- 


Prods. 






MGM-Television/Alfra Prods. 


22.5 


21.5 


various 


16.1 


19.2 


Punkin Prods. 


19.7 


19.2 


Apis Prods. /George 


17.0 


_ 



Schlatter Prods. 

Ilson-Chambers Prods./ 
Yellow Ribbon Prods. 



17.3 



Universal Television/Fairmont 15. 2 
Foxcraft Prods. 

Columbia Pictures Television/ 20.7 
David Gerber Prods. 

Universal Television 19.0 

Paramount Television/Miller- 15.5 
Milkis Prods. 

Columbia Pictures Television/ 17.2 
David Gerber Prods. 

Columbia Pictures Television/ 20.7 
David Gerber Prods. 

Universal Television/CherokeeI9.7 
Prods.. Ray Huggins/ 
Public Arts Inc. 



16.1 
19.7 
20.0 
21.5 



112 



Program Class Series Title 

Chico & The Man 



Situation 
Comedy 



Action/ 
Adventure 



Drama 



Movie 



Fay 

The Montefuscos 

Sanford & Son 

Emergency 

The Family Holvak 
The Invisible Man 

Little House nn the 
Prairie 

Movin' On 

Wonderful World of 
Disnev 

Doctors Hospital 

Medical Siorv 

\«( Monday Night at 
the Movies 

vflc Saturday Night at 
the Movies 



Est. Cost 

per 

Mm. Episode 

30 105.000 

30 100,000 

30 100,000 

30 130,000 

60 270.000 

60 265,000 

60 270,000 

60 260,000 

60 235,000 

60 275.000 

60 250,000 

60 250,000 

120 775.000 

120 775.000 



Supplier 



Nielsen Nielsen 
Rating "75 Rating "74 



Komack Co./Wolper Prods. 21.5 28.2 



Danny Thomas Prods./ 12.3 

Universal Television 

Concept Plus Two Prods./ 1 1 .4 
MGM-Television 

Bud Yorkin/Norman Lear/ 26.4 
Tandem Prods. /Norbud Prods. 

Mark VII Ltd./Universal 18.3 

Television 

Universal Television 15.3 

Universal Television/Silvcrton 16.6 

Prods. 

NBC -Television Ed Friendiv 21.4 



D'Antoni-Weitz Prods. 17.2 

Walt Disney Prods. 16.1 

Universal Television 16.7 

Columbia Pictures Television/ 13.3 
David Gerber Prods. 

various 17.4 



various 



18.2 



19.! 



23.4 

16.6 
23.9 



19.7 

19.8 



Source: "1975-76 Network Prime-lime Season ac a Glance." Variety. Sept. 3. 1975, pp. 61-66. 
"Television Series Ratings alter Seven Weeks." Variely, Nov. 5. 1975, p. 46. 



113 



Table 3-9 

1976-77 Network Prime-lime Season: Program Characteristics 



Program Class 


Series Title 


Min. 


Est. Cost 

per Episode Supplier 


Nielsen 
Rating '76 


ABC 

Police- 
Detective 


Baretia 


60 


350,000 


Universal Television/Roy Huggins/ 
Public Arts 


24.0 




Charlie's Angels 


60 


310.000 


Spelling-Goldberg Prods. 


27.4 




Most Wanted 


60 


320,000 


QM Prods. [Quinn-Martin] 


16.0 




Slarskv & Hutch 


60 


340.000 


Spelling-Goldberg Prods. 


18.5 




Streets of San Francisco 


60 


350.000 


QM Prods. 


18.6 


Situation- 
Comedy 


Barney Miller 
Happy Days 


30 
30 


175.000 
180,000 


Four D Prods. 

Paramount Television/Miller- 
Milkis Prods. 


20.7 
31.0 




Holmes & Yovo 


30 


110.000 


Universal Television/Heyday Prods. 


14.4 




Laverne & Shirley 


30 


160.000 


Paramount Television/Miller- 
Milkis Prods. 


30.2 




Mr. T. & Tina 


30 


120.000 


Komack Co. 


14.1 




Nancy Walker Show 


30 


135,000 


T.A.T. Communications 


17.8 




Tony Randall Show 


30 


150,000 


MTM Enterprises 


19.6 




Welcome Back, Kotter 


30 


150.000 


Komack- Wolper Prods. 


21.7 


Action/ 
Adventure 


Bionic Woman 


60 


370,000 


Universal Television/Harve Bennett 
Prods. 


24.7 




Six Million Dollar Man 


60 


370,000 


Universal Television/Harve 
Bennett Prods. 


24.0 


Drama 


Family 


60 


280,000 


Spellmg-Goldberg Prods. 


19.2 




Rich Man, Poor Man. Book II 


60 


325,000 


Universal Television 


21.6 


Movie 


ABC Friday Night Movie 


120 


various 


various 


21.5 




ABC Sunday Night Movie 


120 


various 


various 


22.8 


Variety 


Captain & Tennille 


60 


220,000 


Moonlight & Magnolias Inc./ 
Bob Henry Prods. 


19.9 




Cos 


60 


220.000 


Jemmin Inc. 


12.9 




Donny & Marie 


60 


230.000 


Osmond Prods./Sid & Marty 
Krotft Prods. 


18.8 


Sports 


.\FL Monday Night Football 


120-1-400.000 


ABC Sports 


21.1 


CBS 

Police- 
Detective 


Barnabv J ones 


60 


320.000 


QM Prods. 


18.4 




Blue Knight 


60 


300.000 


Lorimar Prods. 


15.2 




Delvecchio 


60 


300.000 


Universal Television/Crescendo 
Prods. 


15.5 




Hawaii Five-0 


60 


385.000 


CBS-Television 


21.8 




Kojak 


60 


360.000 


Universal Television/FRP Prods. 


18.1 




Switch 


60 


340.000 


Universal Television 


16.6 



114 



Program Class Series Title 



Est. Cost 
Min. per Episode Supplier 



Nielsen 
Rating '76 



Situation- 


All in I he Family 


30 


225,000 


Comedy 










All's Fair 


30 


125,000 




Alice 


30 


110,000 




Ball Four 


30 


110.000 




Bob Newhart Show- 


30 


200,000 




Doc 


30 


140.000 




Good Times 


30 


180,000 




Jejfersons 


30 


170.000 




Mary Tyler Moore 


30 


225,000 




M*A*S*H 


30 


190.000 




Maude 


30 


190.000 



Action/ 
Adventure 

Drama 

Movie 
Variety 



One Dav a I a Time 

Phyllis 
Rhoda 
Spencer's Pilots 

Waltons 
Execuiive Suite 

CBS Friday Night Movie 
Carol Burnett Show 
Sonnv (6 Cher Show 



30 160.000 

30 170,000 

30 180.000 

60 290.000 

60 320,000 

60 325.000 

120 various 

60 280.000 

60 240.000 





. Tonv Orlando & Dawn 


60 


240,000 




Rainbow Hour 






News/Public 


60 Minutes 


60 


200,000 


Affairs 








NBC 








Police- 


\BC Sunday Mystery Movie 


90 


500,000 


Detective 


(Columbo, McCloud, 
McMillan. Quincy) 








Police Story 


60 


350,000 




Police Woman 


60 


360.000 




Rockford Files 


60 


365.000 




Serpico 


60 


320,000 



Norman Lear/Bud Yorkin/ 
Tandem Productions 

T.A.T. Communications Co. 

Warner Bros. Television 

c Bs-Television 

MTM Enterprises 

MTM Enterprises 

Norman Lear/ Bud Yorkin/ 
Tandem Productions 

T.A.T. Communications Co,- 
NRW Prods. 

MTM Enterprises 

20th Century Fox Television 

Norman Lear/ Bud Yorkin/ 
Tandem Productions 

T.A.T. Communications- 
Allwhit Inc. 

MTM Enterprises 

MTM Enterprises 

CBS-Television 



Lorimar Prods. 

MGM- Television /Stanly Rubin/ 

Arena Prods. 

various 

Punkin Prods. 

Apis Prods./Yonge Street 
Entertainment 

llson-Chambers Prods./ 
Yellow Ribbon Prods. 

CBS News 



Universal Television 



Columbia Pictures Television/ 
David Cierber Prods. 

Columbia Pictures Television/ 
David Gerber Prods. 

Universal Television-Cherokee 
Prods. Rov Muggins Public .Arts 

Paramount Television Emmett 
Lavery Jr. Productions 



24.3 

18.0 
21.1 
15.3 
19.4 
15.7 
20.8 

20.0 

19.6 
26.0 
20.0 

23.1 

18.9 
19.6 
10.1 

22.5 
15.1 

15.7 
18.3 

16.6 

12.9 
20.6 



21.1 

18.0 
18.6 
19.2 
15.5 



lis 



Program Class Series Title 



Est. Cost 
Mm. per Episode Supplier 



Nielsen 
Rating "76 



Situation- 
Comedy 


Chico <& The Man 


30 


180,000 


Comack Co./Wolper Prods. 


19.4 




The Practice 


30 


160.000 


Danny Thomas Prods./ 
MGM-Television 


12.8 




Sanford and Son 


30 


220.000 


Norman Lear Bud Yorkin/ 
Tandem Productions 


20.8 


.Action ' 
.Adventure 


Baa Baa Black Sheep 


60 


300.000 


L'ni\ersai TeIe\ision 


18.2 




Emergency 


60 


320.000 


Universal Television/Mark VII Ltd. 


18.1 




Gemini Man 


60 


340.000 


Universal Television Harve Bennett 
Prods. 


14.5 




Little House on the Prairie 


60 


320.000 


ABC-Television/Ed Friendly 


22.1 




Wonderful World ofDisnev 


60 


385.000 


Walt Disnev Prods. 


19.6 




The Quest 


60 


280.000 


Columbia Pictures Television/ 
David Gerber Prods. 


13.6 


Drama 


Best Sellers 


60 


325.000 


Universal Television 


18.7 


Movie 


SBC Monday Night at 
the Movies 


120 


various 


various 


25.7 




SBC Movie of the Week 


90 


various 


various 


13.8 




NBC Saturday Night at the 
Movies 


120 


various 


various 


19.4 


Variety 


Van Dyke & Company 


60 


240,000 


Catspaw Prods. Blve-Einstein 
Prods. 


13.0 


Gala Weekly 
Special 


The Big Event 


90 


various 


various 


24.6 


Source. "Network Pnme-lime Season al a Glance." Vahen; Sep 
"Network Series Rating .Averages." (1st 13 weeks. Sept. 


t. 15. 1976. pp. 50-54. 
20 through Dec. 19). 1 


■anen. Jan. 7, 1977. p. 86. 





Table 3-10 

U.S. Network Prime-time Programs. 

Average Costs by Class of Program and Average Rating 

(Cost per half hour program or equivalent) 

1974-75 



1975-76 



1976-77 





Average 


.Average^ 


Average 


.A\erage^ 


.Average 


.\\erage^ 


Class of Program 


Cost 


Rating 


Cost 


Rating 


Cost 


Rating 


1 ) Police/Detective 


108,552 


18.5 


130.000 


17.9 


169.000 


18.9 


2) Situation-Comedy 


104,714 


22.9 


120,250 


19.5 


164.600 


20.1 


3) Action Adventure 


108,666 


16.6 


128,333 


16.6 


166.750 


18.7 


4) Drama 


101,875 


18.2 


127,083 


16.3 


156.875 


18.7 


5) Movie 


170.375 


19.7 


193,750 


17.9 


various 


19.8 


6) Variety 


112,500 


16.9 


123,750 


16.5 


119.285 


16.1 


7) Sports 


168,750 


19.9 


175,000 


20.8 


— 


21.1 


8) Other 


87,500 


- 


100.000 


20.1 


various 


- 


"The ratings for 1974-75 and 1975-76 


cover 7 weeks while the ratings for 1976-77 


cover 13 weeks in the beginning of each 


season. 




Source: Tables 3-3. 3-4, 3-5. 















116 



The costs per segment shown in the tables represent 
costs to the network of acquiring the program from the 
suppher. 1 he networks m the U.S. do little of their own 
production lor prime-time, hut rely on outside 
producers. In the 1975-76 season, other than sports, 
only one of the network prime-time programs was 
produced by a network, and in the 1976-77 season two 
programs were produced by the networks. The 
production fee paid by the network is not necessarily 
sufficient to cover the costs of production or yield a 
profit to the producer. Additional revenues frequently 
accrue to the producer supplier through syndication of 
the program and sale to non-network stations and in 
foreign markets. 

As in the case of feature films, various elements 
influence costs of producing television programs, 
including the performers, set construction and destruc- 
tion, number of location movements, and the type of 
program. Producers are in general agreement that 
programs involving a good deal of dialogue, with very 
few set and location movements (i.e. a program filmed 
in one room) are generally the least expensive to 
produce. On the other hand, action-type programs 
involving location movements, chase scenes, destruction 
of equipment and property, et cetera generally tend to 
be more expensive. This would imply that situation- 
comedy and drama, where settings are frequently 
limited and a large amount of dialogue is involved, are 
less expensive to produce than police detective and 
action/adventure programs. Variety programs, on the 
other hand, may vary , depending on the costumes and 
backdrops as well as the type of guest talent brought in. 
Frequently, informal agreements among performers 
providing for token payments for reciprocal guest 
appearances, keep costs down. 

While the consensus of producers is that although 
situation-comedy programs are probably cheaper to 
produce than the one-hour police detective and 
action/adventure type program, they tend to be more 
difficult. First, good comedy script-writers appear to be 
at a premium while it is much less difficult to write 
action 'adventure scripts as they generally follow a 
formula. Writers for such shows as Manni.x compile an 
action script from filing cards each representing 
program segments with such names as the hooker, the 
problem, the home-stretch, a two-minute diver to keep 
the audience from switching channels, a wrap-up and 
the teaser for next week - all separated by commercial 
breaks. Networks and writers agree that violence can 
hold such dramatic patchwork quilts together; subtlety 
of theme and character are eliminated in favour of 
constant audience-jolts. Successful comedy writing 
requires more script care and creativity to maintain 
audiences. Fhere also appears to be considerably more 
uncertainty in producing and scheduling a comedy. A 
comedy which fails leaves little to salvage while there is 
more room for error and some weakness in a one-hour 
action-tvpe show. In addition, comedy encounters 



problems for syndication and success abroad as sense of 
humour in the U.S. may differ from that in other 
countries. The police-action-adventure format has more 
syndicated value than any other format.'" 

Higher costs for a program, however, are not neces- 
sarily rewarded by higher ratings (the success indicator). 
While police/ detective programs cost more than 
situation-comedy, the average Nielsen rating for 
situation-comedy was 22.9 compared to an average of 
18.5 for police/detective in 1974-75. For the 1975-76 
season, the average ratings for these two categories were 
19.5 and 17.9 respectively, and in 1976-77, 20.1 and 18.9 
respectively. Movies had a higher rating than 
police/detective in 1974-75 and 1976-77 and the two 
were rated equally in the 1975-76 season. The average 
rating for action adventure programs remained at 16.6 
for the first two sea.sons, but rose to 18.7 in 1976-77. 
Drama, while just slightly below police 'detective in 
1974-75, fell below the latter by approximately 1.6 
points in the following season and with an average 
rating of 16.3 was the lowest of all categories. In 1976- 
77 drama ratings rose and matched action /adventure 
at 18.7. Variety programs were rated at about the same 
level as action/adventure for the first two seasons, but 
dropped in 1976-77 and widened the gap at 16.1. Sports, 
consisting exclusively of Monday Nighi Football on abc, 
cost almost as much as movies, but al.so enjoyed 
relatively high ratings. 

In summary, excluding sports, the three categories of 
programs with the highest average Nielsen ratings over 
the three seasons were, in order: situation-comedy, 
movies, and police/detective . 

Another ob.servation that can be made from Tables 3- 
7, 3-8, and 3-9 is that situation-comedy programs have 
the lowest rate of seasonal turnover, while 
action/adventure, drama and variety have the highest 
rate of turnover. In between these are police/ detective 
programs. Between the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons, 
out of 14 situation-comedy programs, three were 
dropped for a turnover rate of approximately 21 per 
cent, while between the 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons 
out of 21 programs, seven were dropped, for a turnover 
rate of 33 per cent. The turnover rate for police/ 
detective programs during these same periods was 37 
per cent and 45 per cent; for drama it was 50 per cent 
and 100 per cent; for \ariety it was 50 per cent for each 
period, and for action/adventure the turnover rate was 
60 per cent and 50 percent. 

It is therefore apparent that even though police/ 
detective programs, (the category where violence 
undoubtedly prevails), are not inexpensive to produce, 
thev do on the average stand relati\ ely high in the 
ratings. Furthermore, if the rate of turnover is taken as a 
guide to the stability of priigrams from one season to 
the next, only situation-comcdy programs tend to be 
more stable. Movies, of course, are difficult to rate in 
this manner because they mav continue in their time 



117 



slot from season to season, yet the subject matter can 
vary significantly. 

Ratings are very important to networks for they have 
a considerable impact on advertising revenues. 

In the 1950s the networks in the U.S. produced most 
of their television programs themselves, and sold entire 
time blocks to sponsors and advertising agencies. 
During the 1960s, however, the networks began to 
depend increasingly on outside or independent 
producers, particularly for their prime-time programs 
and at the same time they turned from selling blocks of 
time or entire programs to single advertisers to sellmg 
spots ranging from ten seconds to 120 seconds to 
various advertisers. Depending on the popularity of the 
show, the time spots sell for up to $140,000 per minute. 
(It is estimated that commercials for the network 
showing of Gone with the Wind sold for $235,000 per 
minute.)" The average price of commercial time on 
U.S. networks in 1976 was approximately $90,000 per 
minute.'- The popularity of a program, as measured by 
the Nielsen ratings, is important to networks in terms of 
advertising revenue, as is evident from the following: 

. . . The Nielsen ratings are so important that although nbc lost 
out to CBS (for the nineteenth year in a row) by less than one 
Nielsen point during the 1974-75 season, that slight difference 
was worth $17.5 million to the winner. '-' 

Advertising is of course the prime source of revenue for 
television, and television has the highest dollar expend- 
iture by advertisers of all the mass media. 

7. Other Facets oj Production and Programming 
a) The Production Process 

As mentioned earlier, the U.S. networks rely on outside 
independent producers for virtually all their enter- 
tainment programs. However, the networks retain 
control of the entire conceptual and developmental 
processes in any series production. At the outset these 
producers will suggest possible senes concepts. From 
this point on, the network, if interested, will begin 
funding the preparation of treatment outlines; further 
interest will lead to the financing of a few scripts, and if 
these meet approval then a pilot program is made. Very 
rarely will an independent producer go any further than 
the initial step without financial commitment from a 
network. The cost of producing a "pilot" - in effect a 
prototype - is well beyond the speculative capability of 
most producers.''' Throughout these initial stages the 
networks" input is considerable and fundamentally 
influences the characterizations, plots, and image of the 
series. Once the series is in production, each new script 
is carefully reviewed by the network and extensive 
revisions may be ordered. 

Discussions with writers and producers revealed that 
this continuous network direction came from two 
sources. First, from the network's program standards 
department which minutely censors the scripts for 
excessive violence, undue sexual references, and 



anything they feel may be offensive to the audience or a 
segment of it. These codes of censorship are not 
published and evolve from year to year as the networks 
gauge a certain common denominator of public toler- 
ance. To assist the producer each network assigns a 
liaison officer to the program series, and many of the 
changes are negotiated. Second, the producer and his 
writers are under considerable pressure from the 
network program department which is anxious for 
rating strength. Our discussions indicated that this 
pressure often took a form in apparent conflict with the 
standards of censorship applied by the network. Such 
euphemisms as "make it harder", - suggesting more 
graphic or explicit violence and /or sex and "more 
jeopardy up front", - suggesting more aggressive 
conflict at the outset to ensure audience loyalty to the 
channel, - are tvpical of these program directions. 
Because funding originates with the program depart- 
ments, their suggestions are paramount in the 
producer's mind. The trick, then, is to get by the 
standards department while trying to fulfil the require- 
ments of the program department." 

In the past, the networks have been more interested 
in censoring sex and language rather than scenes of 
violence, although there is some evidence that networks 
have recently become more concerned with raw 
violence. There appears to be a process of trade-offs in 
which more explicit references to sex are traded for less- 
dramatic scenes of violence. Charlie's Angels is a good 
example of a program with more sex countering less 
overt violence. Its relatively high rating (26.8) may 
conceivably trigger a greater movement in this direc- 
tion; success immediately invites imitation. 

We were impressed by the pervasiveness and subtlety 
of the anticipating forces which conditioned the writers, 
producers, and networks. Based on past experience and 
present results, the whole creative and developmental 
process seemed inhibited by second-guessing what the 
next-higher level of authority would appreciate as 
marketable. Newer ideas, plans, approaches and 
concepts were seemingly discussed only in terms of their 
similarity to the track record of known programs. Police 
Story was cited as an almost bizarre exception - an 
anthology series - when conventional wisdom dictated 
continuing-characters in predictably similar situations. 
Not onlv must there be a remarkable unity throughout a 
series, there appears to be a marked consistency in the 
pattern and amount of tension, conflict, violence in 
each episode to the next, e.g. Manm.x usually get beaten 
up about two-thirds of the way into each episode. 

Some writers observed that thev felt violence was 
dramatically honest, ("The American society is a violent 
society"), and although deploring gratuitous violence, 
they felt violence was very frequently an integral part of 
reflecting life and reality. They argued not that they felt 
obliged to provide violence for the titillation of the 
audience but that the real nature of violence was so 
emasculated in the censorship process that the audience 



118 



was given a very fanciful and antiseptic idea of what a 
real shooting and beating meant in human sutTering. 
The danger lay not in showing violence but in giving a 
less-than-lrue picture of its horror. 

In sum. the creative and production processes are 
highly conditioned by what a network assumes will be 
attractive to a mass audience, by what a producer 
thinks the network will assume to be attractive, and by 
what a writer thinks a producer thinks will be attractive. 
Since all of this is predicated on individual or corporate 
financial success the problems attendant with gener- 
ating true ditferences. when the risk could be total loss 
and success a marginal advantage, preclude much real 
change. If violent content is a successful format, or is so 
perceived, there is a built-in economic inertia to 
perpetuate these formats. Although the networks 
maintain their own discipline, this is marked by a 
rampant schizophrenia between what they require and 
what they proscribe. For the independent producer or 
the writer an intricate game develops of obeying the 
letter of the standards while defying the apparent spirit 
of them. 

b) Family Hour 

The concern about violence and fear of possible 
government intervention were major factors in the 
development of the "family hour" concept in the spring 
of \91fi. The National Association of Broadcasters 
came to a relatively informal understanding that the 
period from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. would be free of the 
typical violence found in police/detective programs. It 
was violence and not sex that spawned the concept of 
"family viewing". Since then, the time periods 9:00 p.m. 
and 10:00 p.m. have become the "violent hours". Such 
programs as Suirskv and Hutch. Kojak. Streets of San 
Francisco, as well as movies frequentlv of the violent 
kind like Death Wish and Walking '/'alUPana I and II) 
are designed for "mature audiences", and the network 
advises "parental discretion" concerning viewing by 
children. 

This industry self-regulation was not universally 
applauded. A number of economic and libertarian 
issues were at stake. 'I'he independent television stations 
regarded it as an unfair sanction against their syndi- 
cated use of earlier network programs, by restricting 
them to exposure in late prime-time. The independent 
producers for the same reasons felt their later marketing 
and profits also would be very restricted, e.g. Norman 
Lear's All In The Familv would have had many episodes 
ruled "not-suiiable-for- familv-viewing" and relegated 
to after 9:00 p.m. This would have had a verv adverse 
effect on later syndication. Suit was brought by Lear, 
the Directors Guild, and the Writers Guild to have the 
policy set down. Essentially three issues were raised. 
The policy was a First Amendment infringement, since 
the FCC (the government) was heavily involved - so 
much so it was claimed that the industry had acted in 
fear of actual regulation and thus this was in etTect a 
government regulation. Secondly, no public hearings 



had been held, which would have been necessary had 
the I c ( been contemplating such a regulation. Thirdly, 
the family viewing hour represented industry collusion 
and therefore violated anti-trust laws. In November 
( 1976) a federal court found the policy unconstitutional 
with respect to points one and two and so it was not 
necessary to test the more complicated anti-trust 
aspect." (In Canada such industry self-regulation would 
probably stand, e.g. children's advertising having crtc 
endorsement and the implicit force of regulation.) 

The policy had led to some squabbles between the 
networks, ens claimed Baa Baa Black Sheep (8:00 p.m.. 
NBC) violated the code and was taking an unfair advan- 
tage. This perception of the power of violence to attract 
shares of audiences was best exemplified when cbs 
president Arthur Taylor testified at the federal trial that 
It was absolutely necessary for the networks to collab- 
orate in the establishment of a family viewing hour 
because for one network to cut out violence without the 
cooperation of others could he disastrous (emphasis ours). 
He cited an earlier example when cbs, in 1973, took the 
lead in cutting violence from Saturday-morning 
programming, only to find that the programs ended up 
on private stations and the audiences followed. As a 
result, CBS revenues from Saturday-morning 
programming fell drastically. 

c) Program Strategy 

The programmer's perception of the audience seems to 
assume that action and conflict are vital. In the absence 
of rigorous studies, it appears safe and obvious to point 
out that the opening minute and opening formats 
contain what the programmer feels will most induce the 
audience to stay tuned. The same observation could be 
made of promotional announcements used to attract the 
audience in the first place. These are usually capsules of 
the content of the program and thus are revealing 
evidences of the values which the networks attach to the 
programs. With respect to the action/ adventure-police/ 
detective shows, the ratio of violent incidents to elapsed 
time in these introductory and promotional messages 
appears much higher than in the program itself- a 
distillation of the conflict and violence without any 
redeeming context or resolution. Very simply, the 
networks must believe that this technique is economi- 
cally effective (i.e. gathers and holds an audience), since 
it could be easily modified if proved ineflieient. TTiis 
approach then typifies the expectations of the mass 
viewer. Meanwhile it proliferates the actual amount of 
violent content on the airwaves, and conditions the 
audience to belie\e that this is the substance of "good" 
programs. 

Les Bri>wn, New York Times television corre- 
spondent, offered a military analogy for network 
program strategy. He described the networks as perpet- 
ually at war, involved in a new campaign with each new 
season, each time-period as a battle-field: "Programs 
are the weaponry, violence is heavy ammunition, 
brutality is dynamite," and the prize is. of course, the 



119 



share of the audience pie to offer advertisers. U.S. 
network television is counter-programmed - a program 
is scheduled to harm its time-slot opponents. Theatre, 
cabaret and movie smash hits serve to attract audiences 
to all offerings in their respective circuits. Only in 
television with its limited potential audience does a 
successful show demolish rather than feed its 
opponents." 

d) Production Techniques 

As noted earlier there is no evidence that the production 
costs of programs with violent content are less than 
those of other formats, and there is some evidence to the 
contrary. Also noted, there is some evidence that the 
violence format is "safer" and contains more residual 
values after initial exposures. 

The hierarchy of production costs may be categorized 
from most-expensive to least, in production techniques 
as follows: 

i) Single film camera - involving many scenes 
occasioning a number of set-ups and re-lighting for each 
set-up in the scene, e.g. police/detective, 
action adventure, comedies like Holmes and Yoyo. 

ii) Multiple film cameras - various angles simultane- 
ously filmed under a basic lighting in a few basic sets - 
MTM comedies. 

iii) Multiple television cameras - various angles cut in 
real time under a basic lighting in few basic sets, - Lear 
comedies (Tandem and tat). 

In terms of studio sets or location-shooting an 
original studio set is by far the more expensive; 
however, if it can be pro-rated over an entire series then 
it becomes much cheaper than location-shooting. The 
impact of this is to mitigate against speculative pilots 
which involve extensive building of new sets or even 
assembling parts in a sound stage, and favours location- 
shooting typical of action/adventure. The comedies 
achieve economies through multiple-camera techniques 
and permanent sets but are notable for high talent costs 
if successful and little residual value if not preeminently 
successful. 

A considerable area of production falls into the 
category of Movies of the Week, although this has been 
declining in the last year or two. A standard and style of 
production has developed for longer narratives of a 
non-continuing basis at costs somewhat similar per half- 
hour to other television formats. Although not 
marketable as movies in North America or Europe they 
have subsequent theatrical value in the Third World. 
Film techniques are modified for television, e.g. use of 
close-ups, few basic locations, linear plots, movement as 
opposed to character development, et cetera. These are 
often designed to be a self-liquidating pilot for a 
possible future series. This implies that the limitations 
on the content of this genre heavily influence the shape 
of future series by being a major source of pre-testing 
information. Since the genre is characterized by 
action/adventure or pohce/ detective it can be a self-ful- 
filling prophecy of audience tastes for future series. 



e) Violent Programs and Advertisers 
Recently, it appears that television program sponsors 
and advertisers have also become more conscious of the 
degree of violence in television programs and the 
possible effects of audience reaction to their products. 
One of the largest advertising agencies in the U.S., the J. 
Walter Thompson Co., reported in June 1976 that a 
survey conducted for the company indicated that many 
television viewers were turning off violent television 
programs and might also be rejecting the products 
advertised on those programs.'* The survey also 
indicated that parents tried to prevent their children 
from watching programs they believed were excessively 
violent. The president of the company stated that 
concern over the possible effects of violence on viewers' 
attitude to sponsors" products has led his agency to 
counsel its clients "to evaluate the potential negatives of 
placing commercials in programming perceived as 
violent."''* It has been reported that General Foods has 
stopped sponsoring violent programs.-'^ 

The Canadian J. Walter Thompson Co. report was 
not available at the time of writing. We were told that 
viewers in Canada reported stronger feelings against 
violence in television than those in the U.S., but that the 
difference was probablv due to the nature of the 
questionnaire, which in Canada suggested the topic of 
violence while the U.S. questionnaire provided no such 
guidance to responses. We were informed that the 
studies gave no direct evidence that commercial 
messages placed in violent programs were any less 
efficient than in other content, i.e. that the degree of 
emotional stimulation or involvement in the program 
didn't seem to weaken the impact of the commercial. 

However, the JWT studies did seem to indicate that 
in the most educated and higher socio-economic groups 
there were signs of antagonism to violent content, 
possibly sufl^cient to influence purchasing decisions. 
This might be interpreted as an economic argument to 
clients merchandising "high ticket" items, e.g. new cars 
and appliances, to avoid this content. 

Without reference to the actual stuides, we were told 
that the overall tenor was one of a "densitization" in 
society. This suggested that ever-increasing stimulation 
was necessary to make an equivalent impact. It also 
suggested that a certain dishomogenization of society 
was taking place with a resultant emphasis on 
individual needs and wants. An advertiser might be well 
advised to pitch his message directly to an individual's 
own selfishness and sell-gratification rather than to an 
individual's desire to please others or his sen.se of group 
belonging. (A cosmetic not "to please the men in your 
life" but a cosmetic which "causes the men in your life 
to please you.") 

Among the sponsors who have stated that they would 
not show commercials on violent programs are General 
Foods, Best Foods, Samsonite, Proctor and Gamble, 
McDonald's, Hunt-Wesson, Pfizer, Toyota, Ralston 
Purina, Clorox, Johnson and Johnson, Gillette, Bnstol- 



120 



Myers, Kraft, and General Mills. Some of these 
companies have formal anii-violence policies while 
others indicated to their advertising agencies what kinds 
of programs are to be avoided. -' It would appear that 
recently companies have been giving their agencies 
more formal guidelines on this matter. While some 
maintain that there is a definite trend of sponsor 
disfavour with violence programs, others argue that 
various sponsors (about 15 per cent) have always had 
reservations about violence and the proportion of 
sponsors falling into this category has not changed.^^ 

Various groups in the U.S. have been leading an 
assault on violence in television and have directed their 
complaints to the sponsors of such programs. During 
1976 the American Medical Association approved a 
resolution condemning crime and violence in television 
programs and called on its members and families to 
oppose products and services sponsoring such 
programs. The National Association for Better Broad- 
casting, a media activist group, has been approaching 
advertisers with complaints about their support of 
various programs. And still another group, the National 
Citizens Committee for Broadcasting has been engaged 
in ranking network programs on the basis of violence 
and publicizing the names of companies sponsoring 
them. 

Further evidence of advertisers taking into consider- 
ation possible negative effects of violence when placing 
their commercials comes from the Canadian scene. 
CITY-TV recently reported that large advertisers have 
been reluctant to have their commercials used on the 
program The Quest, a western shown on ( rrv in the 
same time slot as on m« . This program was ranked by 
the National Citizens Committee for Broadcasting as 
the most violent of the programs shown on the U.S. 
networks in the 1976-77 season. (It has recently been 
cancelled.) However, city also reported that some local 
retailers found that the program delivered the audiences 
they desired.-' 

B. Canadian Television Programming, 
Program Production and Audiences 

y. Factors In/liwncing Canaduin Proi^ramming 
As in the U.S. case, the oligopoly nature of Canadian 
television is obvious, with onlv two major networks, one 
relatively small network, and several independent 
stations. In addition, the Canadian networks face 
competition from U.S. networks and stations, particu- 
larly in the border areas and areas served by cable, and 
this tends to fragment the small Canadian audience. 
There is no question that a major determinant of 
Canadian programming is U.S. programming, with the 
two countries practically constituting a common market 
for U.S. television programming. Canadian networks 
are to a large degree constrained b\ what is shown bv 
U.S. television and will not deviate significantlv from 
that format or tht)se pri>gram-iypes. .•Xmcrican and 
Canadian viewer tastes and television habits are very 



similar and for a Canadian station to deviate signifi- 
cantly in a common-coverage area would likely mean a 
loss of audience. 

The cost constraint is also a major factor in Canadian 
television programming. Canadian television networks 
and stations rely heavily on foreign productions, partic- 
ularly from the U.S.. which can be obtained at only a 
fraction of the cost of Canadian productions. As shown 
in Tables 3-1 1 and 3-12, certain U.S. productions, 
particularly situation-comedies such as All in the 
Family, Rhoda. Chico and the Man. can be obtained for 
$2,000 for a half-hour episode. Movies can be obtained 
for $8,000 and police/detective, action/adventure and 
drama programs such as The Streets of San Francisco. 
Kojak. The H'altons. Medical Center, and Marcus Welbv, 
can be purchased for $4,000 for each one-hour episode. 
In comparison, Canadian productions are very expen- 
sive. Samples of police detective and action adventure 
are Police Surgeon - $65,000 - and Swiss Family 
Robinson - $65,0(X). TTie cost of such productions is 
approximately $2,000 per minute. Musical variety 
programs and documentaries are less costly to produce 
(approximately $500 per minute) but still cost the 
networks considerably more than the purchase of U.S. 
productions. Examples are: Irish Rovers - $15.0(X): 
Ptg'n H hisile- SM.OOO: Ombudsman -% 15.000: W5- 
$30,000; Newsmagazine -%\i.QaO. 

In addition to being less costly to Canadian networks, 
U.S. programs are generally viewed by a larger 
Canadian audience (as shown above and noted in Table 
3-13), and produce considerably more gross revenue per 
half-hour or one-hour programs. .As illustrated in Table 
3-13, of t r\'s showings in the 1974-75 season. Canadian 
productions in prime-time accounted for approximately 
42.5 per cent of total program costs but yielded only 23 
per cent of revenue while U.S. productions in prime- 
time accounted for 12.8 per cent of total costs but 
constituted 49 per cent of total revenues. Revenue 
comparisons are also shown in Tables 3-1 1 and 3-12. 
Examples of revenue produced by U.S. police detective 
productions are: Cannon - $48,000: Police Story - 
$48,000: Streets of San Francisco - $46,000 (per one- 
hour episode). In contrast, Canadian-produced 
police/detective programs of a similar type such as 
Police Surgeon produced $16,000 for a half-hour 
episode. A comparison of musical variety programs is 
more favourable to Canadian productions. For 
example, a one-hour Carol Burnett program brought 
$48.(XK) in revenue. Canadian productions, such as 
Tommy Hunter. Irish Rovers, and Slompin Tom's Canada 
vielded an equnalent amount per minute. Howe\er. 
Carol Burnett cost the c lic network only $ 4.000 in 
comparison to $30,000 for the Canadian counterparts 
($15,000 for a half-hour program). In terms of net 
revenue, it is considerably more profitable to show U.S. 
productions than Canadian productions on Canadian 
networks. 

The c i\ and Global Television presentations at the 



121 



Table 3-11 

CBC Network Prime-time Schedule (Winter 1975) 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday 

7:00 Local Local Local Local 



7:30 



:00 



8:30 



9:00 



9:30 



10:00 



Local 



Marv Tyler 
Moore 

$ 24.000 
2.000 

+ 22,000 

77i/5 is 
the Law* 

$ 24.000 
8,500 

+ 15.500 
Cannon 



$ 48.000 
4.000 

+ 44,000 



Naked Mind* 
Middle Age 
Old Timers 

$ 9.500 
15.000 

- 5.500 



Black 
Beauty 

$ 24,000 
2,000 

+ 22,000 
Happy Days 



$ 24.000 
2.000 

+ 22.000 

Police 
Story* 

$ 48.000 
4.000 

+ 44,000 



Front Page 
Challenge* 

$ 24.000 
8,500 

+ 15,500 
Up Canada* 



9,500 
15,000 

5,500 



Time 

Machine* 

$ 24,000 
15,000 

+ 9,000 

Nature of 
Things* 
This Land 

$ 24,000 
15,000 

+ 9,000 
Musicamera* 

$ 48,000 
40,000 

+ 8,000 



Third* 

Testament' 

Specials 

$ 48,000 
40,000 

+ 8,000 



House of 
Pride* 

% 24,000 
30,000 

-6,000 

Carol 
Burnett 

$ 48,000 
4,000 

+ 44,000 



Stompin 

Tom's 

Canada* 

$ 24,000 
15,000 

+ 9,000 

Chico and 
the Man 

$ 24.000 
2.000 

+ 22,000 

Adrienne 
at Large* 

$ 9,500 
15,000 

- 5,500 



Friday 
Local 



Howie 

Meeker* 
Mr. Chips 

$ 24,000 
20,000 

+ 4,000 

All in 

the Family 

$124,000 
2,000 

+ 22,000 
M*A*S*H 

$ 24.000 
2.000 

+ 22.000 

Tommy 
Hunter* 



$ 48,000 
30.000 

+ 18.000 



Rhoda 



% 24.000 

2.000 

+ 22,000 



Saturday 
Local 

Maude 



$ 24.000 
2.000 

+ 22,000 



Sunday 

Beachcombers* 
$ 24,000 
65,000 

^1,000 

Irish 
Rovers* 

$ 24,000 
15.000 

+ 9.000 



Hockey Night The Waltons 
in Canada* 
The Pallisers 

$ 48.000 
4.000 

+ 44,000 



Sam Adams 
Collaborators* 
Anthology Drama 
Performance 

$ 48,000 
120,000 

-72,000 



Marketplace 
Documentary* 

$ 9,500 
15,000 

- 5,500 



122 



10:30 



Monday 



Tuesday 



Wednesday Thursday Friday 



People of 
Our Time/ 
Man Alive* 


News- 
magazine* 


Firsl Person 
Singular/ 
Pacific 
Canada* 


Some 

Honourable 

Members' 


Man About 
the House/ 
Gallery' 


$ 8,500 
15,000 


$ 8,500 
15,000 


$ 8,500 
20,000 


$ 8,500 
15,000 


$ 20.500 
2.000 


- 6,500 


- 6,500 


-11,500 


- 6,500 


+ 18,500 



Source: rRT< Document •Canadian productions Revenue-Costs = Margin per program 



Saturday 



Sunday 
Ombudsman* 



$ 8.500 
15.000 

- 6,500 



Table 3-12 

cry Network Prime-time Schedule (Winter 1975} 

1-m 



7:30 



:00 



8:30 



9:00 



9:30 



Monday 


Tuesday 


Wednesday 


Thursday 


Friday 


Saturday 


Sunday 


Ian Tyson' 


Headline 
Hunters* 


That's My 
Mama 


Funny 
Farm* 


Swiss 

Family 

Robinson* 


Emergency 


Born Free 


$ 16,000 
15,000 


$ 16,000 
8,500 


$ 23,000 
2,000 


$ 16,000 
15,000 


$ 16,000 
65,000 


$ 46,000 
4.000 


$ 46,000 
4,000 


+ 1,000 


+ 7,500 


+ 21,000 


+ 1,000 


-49,000 


+ 42,000 


+ 42,000 


Six Million 
Dollar Man 


Tuesday 
\ighl Movie 


Local 


Excuse My 
French* 


The 
Rookies 






$ 46.000 
4.000 


$ 79,000 
6,000 




$ 16,000 
30,000 


$ 46,000 
4,000 






+ 42.000 


+ 73,000 




-14,000 


+ 42,000 










Hockey* 
Movies 


Kung Fu 

$ 46.000 
4.000 

+ 42.000 




Academy 
Performance 

$ 92.000 
12,500 

+ 79,500 


Kojak 

$ 46,000 
4,000 

+ 42,000 


Streets of 
San Francisco 








Adam 12 






$ 46.000 
4.000 








$ 23,000 
2,000 






+ 42.000 








+ 21,000 








Marcus 
Welby 




Police 
Surgeon* 


Friday 

Mystery 

Movie 




Medical 
Center 




$ 46,000 
4,000 




$ 16.000 
65,000 


$ 92,000 
8,000 




S 46,000 
4,000 




+ 42,000 




-49.000 


+ 84,000 




+ 42,000 


Pi^'n Whistle* 
$ '16.000 
15.000 






Maclear* 

$ 16.000 

15.000 








+ 1,000 






+ 1,000 









123 



Monday 



Tuesday 



Wednesda\ Thursdas 



Frida\ 



10:00 


Ironside 
S 46.000 
4.000 


Harry 

S 46.(X)0 

4.000 


Nakia 
$ 46.000 
4.000 




+ 42.000 


+ 42.000 


+ 42.000 


10:30 




Banjo 
Parlour* 

S 16.000 
15.000 

+ 1,000 




Source: 


c RTr Document 


■Canadian Productions Revenue 


CosIs = Margin p 



Saturday 


Sunday 


Local 


W5* 




$ 32,000 




30.000 




+ 2.000 



Local 



Table 3-13 



CTv Television Network Lid 
Network Sales Time Programs- 



-] 974/75 Season (Excluding Specials) 

St. Hshlds. CPM 

Per Avg. Using 

Hr. " 52 Time 

(OOO's) 30/ 



Canadian Prime 






Excuse My French 


610 


5.46 


Eunny Earm 


715 


4.67 


Headline Hunters 


620 


5.37 


\factear 


803 


4.15 


Pig'n Whistle 


734 


4.54 


Police Surgeon 


830 


4.01 


Swiss Eamily Robinson 


784 


4.25 


Ian Tyson 


652 


5.11 


W-5 ' 


487 


6.84 


Foreign Prime 






Emergency 


879 


5.43 


Harry-O Tony Orlando Cher 


1.003 


4.76 


Ironside A rcher Sweeney 


805 


5.93 


Kojak 


1.055 


4.52 


Mystery Movie 


827 


5.77 


Marcus Welby 


754 


6.33 


Off Prime 






News 


460 


4.70 


Canada A.M. 






Untamed World 


456 


3.75 


Wide World of Sports 


378 


4.52 


Daytime 


563 


1.60 


Backgrounder 







Source: cTv Television Network presentation at the crtc Hearings, 







Bookings 






Yearly 


%of 


as of 






Program 


Total 


Aug. 31. 


%of 




: Cos'ts 


Program 


1975 


Total 


Net 


Ute ($000) 


Cos'ts 


($000) 


Bookings 


($000) 


$ 780.0 


6.8 


$ 574.3 


2.4 


(205.7) 


494.0 


4.3 


531.8 


2.2 


37.8 


218.4 


1.9 


598.2 


2.5 


379.8 


513.0 


4.5 


598.4 


2.5 


85.4 


431.6 


3.8 


598.3 


2.5 


166.7 


520.0 


4.5 


591.0 


2.5 


71.0 


390.0 


3.4 


586.8 


2.5 


196.8 


463.5 


4.1 


602.3 


2.5 


138.8 


1.050.1 


9.2 


843.4 


3.6 


(206.7) 


$ 4.860.6 


42.5 


$ 5.524.5 


23.2 


663.9 


$ 192.4 


1.7 


$ 1.641.1 


6.9 


1.448.7 


216.2 


1.9 


1.665.6 


7.0 


1.449.4 


184.5 


1.6 


1,715.2 


7.2 


1.530.7 


212.0 


1.9 


1.760.9 


7.4 


1.548.9 


378.0 


3.3 


3.291.7 


13.8 


2.913.7 


231.4 


2.0 


1.650.5 


7.0 


1.419.1 


$ 1.414.5 


12.4 


$11,725.0 


49.3 


10.310.5 


$ 2.151.5 


18.8 


$ 1.740.3 


7.3 


(411.2) 


1.177.4 


10.3 


371.5 


1.5 


(805.9) 


260.0 


2.3 


313.4 


1.3 


53.4 


255.4 


2.2 


750.8 


3.2 


495.4 


1,192.8 


10.4 


2.640.9 


11. 1 


1,448.1 


$ 5.037.1 


44.0 


$ 5.816.9 


24.4 


779.8 


$ 122.3 


1.1 


$ 728.3 


3.1 


606.0 


$11,434.5 


100.0 


$23,794.7 


100.0 


12.360.2 


Ottawa. Nov. 4. 1975 











124 



lablc 3-14 

Global Television Network 

Financial Suilcment on Indepenilenl Canadian Produclions 1974-75 Season 



Program 


Season or Showing 


Audience 


Cost 

$ 


Revenue 

$ 


Net 

$ 


Hiadcn Heal 


One hour 


82,800 


17,000 


4.032 




H-'ilness lo Yeslerdav 


30 minutes 


104.600 (Mar/74) 


7,100 






World of Wicks 


Sepi/74-Aug/75 


- 


136.000 


9.469 


(126.53!) 


Wildlife Cinema 


Sept/74- Aug/75 


- 


126.000 


15.694 


(110.306) 


My Country 


Sept/74- Aug/75 


- 


81.000 


26,244 


(54,756) 


Shh! Its The News 


Sept/74-Aug/75 


145,000 (Mar/75) 


272.000 


132.294 


(139,706) 


The Great Debate 


- 


- 


263.560 


213.594 


(49,966) 



Total Independent 

Canadian Productions - - 

Source: Global Television Network presentation at the t RU Heanng. Ottawa. November 5. 197? 



.349.554 



430,177 



(919,377) 



recent ( ru hearings illustrated the problem with 
Canadian productions. Of the programs used as 
examples b) Global and illustrated m Table 3-14, not 
one showed a profit for the network. Such statistics were 
presented by Global and CTV to support their argument 
that, in the words of the president of civ, "dornestic 
programs are not self-sustaining" and that "without 
relatively economic foreign sources of programming to 
generate surplus revenue, we couldn't sustain our 
present level of Canadian production."-'' It would 
appear that to a large extent, it is only Canadian- 
content legislation which prevents a private network 
such as c i\ from relymg almost completely on 
American programs, except for such items as the news 
or sports. The publicly-supported (nc. on the other 
hand, without this legislation would likely continue to 
offer some Canadian-produced programs or risk losing 
its public financial support. 

< KK regulations currently restrict non-Cunadian 
programming to 40 per cent of broadcast time between 
the hours of 6:00 a.m. and midnight. This also applies to 
a public network or station for the hours of 6:00 p.m. 
and midnight, while a private network or station is 
restricted to 50 per cent non-Canadian programming 
fi>r the hours of 6:00 p.m. to midnight. 

This reliance on foreign tele\ision programs to. in a 
sense, subsidize the production and showing of 
domestic programs, is not unique to Canada. It is also 
true ot British tele\ision and most Luropean television, 
as evident from the following: 

. . . the low purchase price of old films and mass audience 
television series helps to cross-linancc home produced series, 
arts programs, modern drama, and cultural production in 
general | in Britain]. It is a strategy employed in one form or 
another by most Kuropean television networks: although the 
smaller, poorer networks are obviouslv more dependent on 
bought programs - particularly in the Meld of entertainment 
than the richer ones. 



Arts programs and drama are produced at between ten and 
fourteen times the cost per viewer hour of purchased 
programs.-- 



2. Characteristics of Network Programming 

Some of the features of Canadian network 
programming (cbc and CTV) can be observed from 
Tables 3-15 to 3-19. Using the methods outlined earlier, 
diversity and homogeneity indicators were calculated 
for the two seasons 1975 and 1976. The diversity 
indicator, measuring the extent to which prime-time 
(8:00 p.m. to 1 1 :00 p.m.. 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on 
Sundav) is dominated b\ a few program-types was 
lower for ( i v in both seasons, showing that ct\ had less 
diversity in its schedules than ( B( . As can be observed 
in Tables 3-17 and 3-18, two categories of programs, 
police/detective and movies, dominated prime-time in 
CTV in 1 975. representing 3 1 .6 per cent and 2 1 . 1 per cent 
of prime-time hours respectively, for a combined total 
of 52.7 percent. In 1976. police detective (31.6 per 
cent), combined with action adventure (21.1 per cent) 
to again constitute 52.7 per cent of prime-time. .Ml of 
these programs were ,\merican. The two most 
important program categories in ciu in both seasons 
were situation-comedy and 

documentary public-affairs education. Each category 
absorbed 10.5 per cent of prime-time in 1975 and 23.8 
per cent in 1976. In both seasons, the combined 
networks in Canada were more diverse than the 
combined L'.S. networks. 

A homogeneity indicator, measuring the extent to 
which the contents of the network schedules resemble 
one another, was also calculated for each season and is 
shown in Tables 3-17 and 3-18. Ihe indicators are 
relatively high at 95.5 for 1975 and 120.8 for 1976. The 
primary distinctions between the schedules of cbc and 



125 



Table 3-15 

CBC and en Network Prime-time Programming: Early Fall 1975 
Series Title, Rating, and Program Classification 



CBC 



Day 


Hour 


Series Title 


Rating^ 


Program 

Class 


Series Title 


Rating 


Program 
Class 


Monday 


8:00 
8:30 
9:00 
9:30 


*Rhoda 
Front Page Challenge 

* All in the Family 

* Chico and The Man 


14 
1! 
20 
13 


Sitcom 
Quiz 
Sitcom 
Sitcom 


* Invisible Man 

* Petrocelli 


14 
10 


Ac/Ad 
Pol/Det 




10:00 

10:30 


New Wave 

People of Our Time 


5 
3 


Doc/Pub. 
Aff/Ed 
Doc/ Pub. 
Aff/Ed 


Grand Old Country 
Pig'n Whistle 


7 
5 


Variety 
Variety 


Tuesday 


8:00 
8:30 
9:00 


* Happy Days 
This is the Law 
fifth estate 


9 
6 


Sitcom 

Quiz 

Doc/Pub. 

Aff 


* Good Times 

John A lien Cameron 

* The Rookies 


11 

6 
11 


Sitcom 
Variety 
Pol/Det 





9:30 






10:00 


* Doctors Hospital 




10:30 




Wednesday 


8:00 
8:30 
9:00 
9:30 
10:00 
10:30 


Baseball /Football 


Thursday 


8:00 
8:30 


* Carol Burnett 




9:00 


King of Kensington 




9:30 


Local 




10:00 


Local 




10:30 




Friday 


8:00 


* Mary Tyler Moore 




8:30 


*M*A*S*H 




9:00 


Touch the Earth 




9:30 






10:00 


Local 




10:30 




Saturday 


8:00 


All Around the 
Circle 




8:30 


Billy Liar 




9:00 


Sinners 




9:30 






10:00 


Gallery 



Drama 



Variety 



10:30 To See Ourselves 



4 
3 


Sitcom 
Drama 


3 
3 


Doc/ Pub 
Aff/Ed 
Doc/ Pub 
Aff/Ed 



Local 



5 


Sports 


*Joe Forrester 
CFL Football 


8 


Pol/Det 
Sports 






"( Harry -O)'" 


(9) 


(Pol/Det) 


13 


Variety 


*Fay 


7 


Sitcom. 






* Streets of San 


10 


Pol'Det 






Francisco 






8 


Sitcom. 












Maclear 


6 


Doc/Pub. 

Aff/Ed 






Local 






13 


Sitcom 


* Friday Mystery Movie 


12 


Movie 


15 


Sitcom 








5 


Variety 









* Switch 



Pol/Det 



* Academy Performance 12 Movie 



Local 



126 



< B( 



Day 



Sunday 









Program 




Program 


liuir 


Series Title 


Rating-" 


Class 


Series Title Rating 


Class 


7:00 


Beachcombers 


II 


Ac/Ad 


• Six Million Dollar Man 1 5 


Ac/Ad 


8:00 


* Wallons 


11 


Ac/Ad 


*Cher 12 


Variety 


8:30 












9:00 


Sideslreet 


6 


Pol/Det 


*Kojak 12 


Pol/Det 


9:30 












0:00 


Markclphice 


8 


Doc/Pub. 
Aff/Ed 


W-5 5 


Doc/Pub 
Aff. 


0:30 


Omhudsnuin 


7 


Doc/Pub. 
Aff/Ed 







^All Persons 2+ (Common Coverage Area 

•U.S. or other foreign 

Source: bbvi Television Network Report. Early Fall 1975 



Shown if no football scheduled 



Table 3-16 

CBC and CI i Network Prime-time Programming: Early Fall 197(>. 
Series Title, Rating and Program Classification 



CBC 



CTV 













Program 








Program 


Day 


Hour 


Scries Title 


Rating-' 


Class 


Series Title 




Rating'' 


Class 


Monday 


8:00 
8:30 


*Rhoda 
Phyllis 


13 
12 


Sitcom 
Sitcom 


* Wallons 




10 


Ac/Ad 




9:00 


Front Page Challenge 


12 


Quiz 


Pig'n Whistle 




6 


Variety 




9:30 


* All in the Family 


15 


Sitcom 


* One Day at a 


Time 


9 


Sitcom 




10:00 


CBC Newsmagazine 


5 


Doc/Pub. 
Aff/Ed 


'Streets of San 


Francisco 


12 


Pol/Det 




10:30 


Man A live 


4 


Doc/ Pub. 

Aff/Ed 










Tuesday 


8 


00 


* Happy Days 


17 


Sitcom 


* Bionic Womat 


I 


16 


Ac/ Ad 




8 


30 


Kin^ of Kensington 


8 


Sitcom 












9 


00 


*M*A*S*H 


15 


Sitcom 


• The Practice 




7 


Sitcom 




9 


30 


fifth estate 


7 


Doc/ Pub. 


Julie 




4 


Variety 










Aff/Ed 












10:00 








* Switch 




9 


Pol/Det 




10:30 


' Barney Miller 


5 


Sitcom 










Wednesday 


8:00 

8:30 

9:00 

9:30 

10:00 

10:30 


New IVave 
One C anadian 
Front Row Centre 

Royal Suite 


4 
4 
4 

3 


Doc/ Pub. 
Aff/Ed 
Doc/ Pub. 
Aff/Ed 
Drama 

Drama 


Local 








Thursday 


8:00 


* Carol Burnett 


12 


Variety 


* Gemini Man 




12 


Ac/ Ad 




8 


30 


















9 


00 


Quiet Olympics 


3 


Doc/ Pub. 


* Nancy Walker 


Show 


8 


Sitcom 










Aff/Ed 












9:30 








Maclear 




5 


Doc. Pub 

Aff Ed 




10:00 


* Upstairs —Downstairs 


4 


Drama 


* Delvc'cchio 




6 


Pol Det 




10 


30 

















127 



( BC 



Day 



Friday 



Saturday 



Sunday 









Prt)s!ram 






Proeram 


Hour 


Series Title 


Rating' 


Class 


Series T itle 


Rating' 


Class 


8:00 


* Atarv Tvltr Moore 


11 


Sitcom 


* Down & Marie 


13 


Variety 


8:30 


* Cluco and The Man 


10 


Sitcom 








9:00 


Tommy Hunler 


8 


Variety 


* Rockford Files 


9 


Pol Det 


9:30 














10:00 


Local 






* Serpico 


7 


Pol/Det 


10:30 














8:00 


Hockey Night in 
Canada 


13 


Sports 


* Academy Performance 


8 


Movie 


8:30 














9:00 














9:30 














10:00 














10:30 


Slay Tuned 


5 


Variety 








7:00 


Beachcombers 


11 


Ac/Ad 


*Si.\ Million Dollar Man 


15 


Ac/Ad 


7:30 


Super Special 


4 


Variety 








8:00 








* Sonny & Cher 


14 


Variety 


8:30 


* Tom Randall 


7 


Sitcom 








9:00 


Sidestreel 


4 


Pol Det 


* Kojak 


11 


Pol Det 


9:30 














10:00 


FUght 


4 


Doc/Pub 
AflVEd 


W-5 


5 


Doc/ Put 
Aff/Ed 



10:30 

^Ail persons 2+ (Common Coverage Area) 

•U.S. or other foreign 

Snurit- BBM Television Network Report. Earlv Fall 1976 



128 



Table 3-17 

i RC and (11 ,\'i'lwork Pnine-tiine Programming: Early Fall 1975 
Hours and Propuriion of Programming by Class 



Program Class 

Police/Deteclive 

Situation Comedy 

Action/Adventure 

Drama 

Quiz 

Documentary 'Public 

Affairs/Education 

Sports 

Variety 

Movie 

Total 

Diversity Indicator 
(Possible range 0-66.6) 



Homogeneity Indicator 
(Possible range 0-200) 



CBC 




Hours 


% 


1 


5.1 


4 


20.5 


2 


10.3 


2 


10.3 


1 


5.1 


4 


20.5 


3 


15.4 


2.5 


12.8 



19.5 



43.6 



100.0 



CTV 

Hours 

6 
1 

2 



1.5 



34.1 



% 



31.6 

5.3 

10.5 



7.9 



2 


10.5 


2.5 


13.2 


4 


21.1 


9 


100.0 



Combined 




Networks 




Hours 


% 


7 


18.2 


5 


13.0 


4 


10.4 


2 


5.2 


1 


2.6 


5.5 


14.3 


5 


13.0 


5 


13.0 


4 


10.4 


38.5 


100.0 



54.5 



95.5 



Note: A. 



B. 



Prime tmie is defined as 8:00 p.m. to 1 1 :00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7:00 p.m. to 1 1 ;00 p.m. Sunday. 
This permits comparisons with U.S. network statistics and more accurately reflects the 
"prime" viewing hours than 6:00 p.m. to midnight. 

"Local" time periods are not attributed. 



•Soi/rce; Tables 3 I 5 and !^ 16. 



129 



Table 3-18 

CBC and CTV Network Prime-lime Programming: Earlv Fall 1976 
Hours and Proportion of Programming by Class 





CBC 




Program Class 


Hours 


% 


Police/Detective 


1 


4.8 


Situation Comedy 


5 


23.8 


Action/Adventure 


1 


4.8 


Drama 


3 


14.3 


Quiz 


.5 


2.4 


Documentary/Public 
Affairs/Education 


5 


23.8 


Sports 


2.5 


11.9 


Variety 


3 


14.3 


Movie 


- 


- 


Total 


21 


100.0 



Diversity Indicator 
(Possible range 0-66.6) 

Homogeneity Indicator 
(Possible ranee 0-200) 



38.8 



CT\' 

Hours 

6 

1.5 

4 



1.5 

3 

3 

19 



% 



31.6 

7.9 

21.1 



7.9 

15.8 
15.8 

100.0 
31.5 



Combined 




Networks 




Hours 


% 


7 


17.5 


6.5 


16.3 


5 


12.5 


3 


7.5 


.5 


1.2 


6.5 


16.3 


2.5 


6.3 


6 


15.0 


3 


7.5 


40 


100.0 



49.9 



120.8 



Note: A. 



B. 
C. 



Prime time is defined as 8:00 p.m. to 1 1 :00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1:00 p.m. to 1 1 :(X) p.m. Sunday. 
This permits comparisons with U.S. network statistics and more accurately reflects the 
"prime" viewing hours than 6:(X) p.m. to midnight. 

"Local" time periods are not attributed. 

In the case of CTV (1976) Wednesday 8:00 p.m. to 1 1:00 p.m. is indicated as "local" during the bbm 
rating period. More frequently this period is devoted to Canadian sports which would reduce the overall 
prime-time foreign content to 63.43 per cent. 



Source: Tables 3-15 and 3-16. 



CTV in both seasons were the differences in the number 
of hours devoted to police/detective, situation-comedy, 
documentary /public-affairs/education. and movies. 
Taking 1976 as an example, police/detective absorbed 
31.6 per cent of time for ctv. compared to only 4.8 per 
cent for cBc: situation-comedy 1.5 per cent for ctv, 23.8 
per cent for cbc: documentary/ public 
aflTairs/education: 7.9 per cent for ctv 23.8 per cent for 
cbc; and movies: 15.8 per cent for ctv, for cbc. ctv 
devoted considerably more of its prime-time to the 
physical action/conflict type programs common on U.S. 
networks. Police/detective, action/ adventure, and 
movies accounted for 63.2 per cent of ctv prime-time in 
1975 and 68.5 per cent in 1976. In contrast, these three 
categories abosorbed 15.4 per cent of cbc pnme-time in 
1975 and 8.8 per cent in 1976. 

A comparison of the content of the prime-time 
schedules of cbc and ctv with each of the three U.S. 



networks by the computation of homogeneity indicators 
shows that the ctv schedule has much greater similarity 
to the U.S. network schedules than does the cbc 
schedule, ctv. bv stressing police detective, 
action adventure, and movies, more closely resembles 
NBC than either abc or cbs. 

It could be expected that cbc. heavily financed by 
parliamentary appropriations and not relying solely on 
advertising revenue, would not necessarily be bound by 
the constraints of the private networks and could more 
readilv offer a greater diversity of programs and 
experiment with minoritv-interest programs. However, 
one has onlv to compare the Sunday prime-time 
schedules of cbc and ct\ to find that these two 
networks do engage in pitting similar-type programs 
against one another. Examples have also been cited by 
CTV where the network has scheduled a particular 
program, such as a wild-life-adventure, only to be 



130 



quickly followed by a scheduling of a similar wildlife 
program by < H( in exactly the same tmie spot.-'' 

Another feature of Canadian network programmmg 
is the much greater reliance by civ on U.S. programs in 
prime lime as compared to ( b( . In 1976, 86.8 per cent 
of CIV network prime-time programming was accounted 
for by U.S. (or other foreign) programs as compared to 
31.0 percent forcBC. (See NoteC. Table 3-18.)( rv, 
however, surpassed ( bc in the overall average rating 
(common-coverage area ratings based on the equivalent 
of onc-half-hour programs) in 1976, with a rating of 9.4 
in comparison to 7.9 for ( uc. 

Table 3-19 shows the average ratings by program 
category for prime-time programming by the combined 
networks in 1975 and 1976. In 1975, action/adventure 
was rated the highest, followed by situation comedy 
and movies. Police detective ranked fifth. In 1976, 
again action adventure was near the top, but 
police detective ranked sixth. In both vears drama and 
documentary public-aff'airs/education were the two 
lowest rated program categories. 

3. Production and Dislribulion of Canadian Television 
Programs 

One of the differences in the operations of Canadian 
and U.S. networks is that Canadian networks tend to 
rely more heavily on "in-house" production of 
programs for prime-time. This tendency, plus the 
reliance on foreign programs, has left few time slots in 
network programming for the showing of programs 
produced by independent producers. One of the major 
complaints of independent producers is insufficient 
access to airlinie on Canadian television netwt)rks and 
stations.^' An examination of the prime-time schedules 
of the CBC and n\ networks for the winter of 1975 
shows not one Canadian program which was not 
produced by the networks or by networks using the 
facilities of affiliate stations, although two. Police 
Surgeon and Swiss Family Rohinwn were co-produc- 
ticms with independents. In the 1975-76 season, out of a 
total of about 1,200 hours of original programming for 
the (TV network, six and a half hours were devoted to 
the work of independent Canadian producers, or .54 per 
cent. This was a drop from nine hours of original 
programming in the previous season. In 1973-74 Ihet bc 
incurred operating expenses of $246.7 million of which 
six per cent or approximately $15 million was spent on 
"film rights or commissioned productions." The amount 
spent on F.nglish-language television programming 
(network lime periods and local station time periods - 
cH( produced) was $85.1 million. In other words, of 
approximately $100 million spent for television 
programming, $15 million was paid for outside produc- 
tions, including foreign programs.-' 

Programs produced in Canada for television by 
independent producers are unlikely to make a profit 
from sales to the Canadian networks or stations. These 
programs, if they can find a market in Canadian 



networks, are generally sold to the networks at only a 
fraction of the cost of production and must rely on 
subsequent sales, particularly in the foreign market, to 
cover the remaining costs and yield a profit.'"' Some 
independent producers have made attempts, with some 
success, to break into foreign markets other than the 
U.S., particularly Europe and Japan. Among the 
successful productions, some have been marketed in 
both Canada and abroad while others have been 
produced exclusively for the foreign market. In this 
latter area the content of the programs is very 
constrained, until recently being limited primarily to 
information programs or documentaries, and relatively 
few in number. 

In essence, budget and market limitations restrict 



Table 3-19 

CBC and cry Network Prime-time Programs by Category: 

Average Ralini; 

Early Fall 1975 and 1976 



Program Category 


1975 


1976 


Police/Detective 


9.3 


8.3 


Situation/Comedy 


12.3 


10.5 


Action/Adventure 


12.8 


12.8 


Drama 


4.5 


3.8 


Quiz 


1 0.0 


12.0 


Documentary /Public Affairs/ 


5.2 


4.6 


Education 






Sports 


5.0 


13.0 


Variety 


8.3 


9.0 


Movie 


12.0 


8.0 


Source: Tables 3-15 and 3- 16. 







independent producers to such sub|ects as wildlife 
documentaries, educational or religious programs, talk 
shows, or musicals, all primarily for non-prime-time 
showing. In prime-time, even the Canadian networks 
make little attempt to compete for audiences with 
American stations in the production of physical 
action conflict type programs of the Cannon and Kojak 
nature. The non-Canadian time permitted in evening 
ht>urs is filled with American-produced programs made 
available at $2,000 to $4,000 per episode. The Canadian 
portion of broadcast lime in this period is filled 
primarily w ith news programs, musicals, sports, and 
documentaries public-affairs education programs. 



131 



Table 3-20 

Nalional Adverliser Expenditure in Measured Media. 7975 

Investment Share 

(%) 

48 

26 

10 

9 

5 

1 

100 

Source: Television Basics 1976-77. TV Bureau of Canada 



Medium 


($ million 


Television 


261.3 


Daily Newspapers 


141.4 


Radio 


55.8 


Consumer Magazines 


50.2 


Weekend 


29.4 


Farm 


6.6 


Total 


544.7 



Increase 

1974 

(%) 

14 
25 
10 

8 

1 

5 

14 



Increase 

1973/74 
(%) 

15 

9 

7 
22 

1 
15 

13 



4. Television Programming and Advertising 
American television programs shown on Canadian 
networks generally receive higher ratings than 
Canadian programs and consequently commercial time 
can be more readily sold to advertisers. This, combined 
with the low cost of acquiring U.S. programs, is of 
extreme importance to the Canadian television 
networks and stations which are not publicly funded, as 
was di.scussed earlier. 

Beginning in the fall of 1976. the cost to an advertiser 
for 30 seconds of prime-time on the full English cbc 
television network was $3,587 if he signed up at the rate 
of two commercials a week for 52 weeks. A similar 
commercial under similar conditions on the ctv 
network cost $2,974. Statistics show that in Canada, 
television is the most popular medium for advertising, 
followed by daily newspapers, with radio a distant third. 
This is illustrated in Table 3-20. 

Newspapers showed the greatest increase in adver- 
tising e.xpenditure in 1975 from the 1974 level at 25 per 
cent, and they expect to continue to gain over the next 
few years.^" Richard Thompson, director of sales for the 
Advertising Bureau of Canadian Daily Newspapers 
believes that television is in a "sold-out" position to 
major advertisers, and thus advertisers with relatively 
small budgets ($300,000 to $500,000). not being able'to 
make a national impact with television campaigns, turn 
to the newspapers. The television industry, on the other 
hand, disputes this and does not expect any significant 
decline in its share of national advertising dollars." 

5. Characteristics of Canadian Television Audiences 
According to recent Nielsen figures, the average dailv 
viewing per household in Canada is five hours and 56 
minutes; bbm figures indicate an average weekly viewing 
per person of 23 hours and 52 minutes: and the cbc 
calculated an average dailv viewing per adult of about 



four hours - and weekly viewing times per person are still 
increasing. The same numbers of people watch 
television daily, but more time is spent watching on 
Saturdays and Sundays than on weekdays. Children are 
attracted to "kid-vid" in the morning and early 
afternoon weekend periods. Adults watch more heavily 
in the afternoons and in the 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. period on 
Sundays, later on Saturdays. Pnme-time programs not 
scheduled in these peak hours of heaviest viewer 
concentration generally receive lower ratings.^^ 

In 1973 the cbc published the results of a study it 
conducted on the patterns of television viewing in 
Canada. The findings showed that television viewing is 
an important leisure time activity, that age and 
occupation were determining factors, that women spent 
more time watching television than men. and that 
television viewing vanes inversely with the level of 
education. '- A study on leisure activity conducted at 
approximately the same time by the Secretary of State 
found similar viewing patterns. The findings of the 
Secretary of State are presented in Tables 3-21 . 3-22 
and 3-23.''^ 

Among the highlights of the television audience 
which can be observed from these tables are the 
following: 

a) People aged 14-34 formed 47 per cent of the total 
viewing audience; the group aged 14-44 constituted 64 
per cent of the audience. The elderly (aged 65 and over) 
along with the young (aged 14-24) have the highest 
frequency of heavy viewing of all groups. 

b) The time spent watching television varies inversely 
with the level of education. Forty-se\en per cent of 
those with less than Grade nine education were heavy 
viewers, coinpared to only 18 per cent of those who 
completed university. 

c) On the basis of occupation, the highest frequency of 
heavy television viewing was among housewives, 
followed closely by students and then the unemployed. 



132 



Tabic 3-21 

Disinhuium of Television Audience and Frequency of Participation by Age Group 

Distribuiuin of television viewing 
Age groups as '? of total population 
14 years and over viewing television 

% of age 
group viewing 



Age 


television 


Light 


Medium 


Heav\ 


To 


14-19 


96 


16 


20 


18 


18 


20-24 


95 


10 


10 


11 


11 


25-34 


96 


18 


18 


18 


18 


35-14 


95 


19 


17 


14 


17 


45-64 


94 


28 


25 


25 


26 


65 + 


89 


9 


8 


13 


10 


Total 


94 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 



Frequency of television viewing 
% of age group 



Light 


Medium 


Heavy 


28 


31 


41 


31 


29 


41 


31 


29 


40 


36 


31 


34 


33 


29 


38 


26 


23 


51 


32 


29 


40 



S.mrrc- Secretary of Stale. I Iriwrc Siuth Canndc l<r: (Ottawa. 1973) 



Table 3-22 

Dislnhuiiiin aj Television Audience and Frequency oj Parii( ipalion bv Education 

Distribution of television viewing 
Educ. groups as % of total population 

Medium Heavy Total 

28 36 31 

38 39 37 

17 15 16 

12 8 11 

6 2 5 

Source: SccTelar\ olState. A I ciuire Sludv Canadii l<>~2 (Ottawa, 1973) 





% of educ. 




F-ducation 


group viewing 
television 


Light 


Under 






Grade 9 


92 


27 


Secondary 






not complete 


96 


33 


SecondarN 






complete 


96 


17 


Some post- 
secondary 


95 


15 


Universitv 






complete 


93 


8 


Total 


94 


_ 



Frequency of television viewing 
% of educ. group 



Light 


Medium 


Heavy 


27 


26 


47 


28 


30 


42 


33 


31 


36 


41 


30 


29 


51 


31 


18 


32 


29 


40 



133 



Table 3-23 



Disirihulion of Television Audience and Frequency of Participation by Occupational Group 



Distribution of television viewing 
Occup. groups as % of total population 
14 \ears and over viewing television 



Occupation 


% of occup. 
group viewing 
television 


Light 


Medium 


Heavy 


Total 


Unemployed 

Managerial 

Professional 


93 
96 
94 




2 

6 

10 


1 

5 

7 


2 
4 
3 


2 

5 
7 


White collar 


95 




19 


18 


14 


17 


Blue collar & 

craftsmen 


95 




19 


19 


' 18 


19 


Resource 

industry 

workers 


91 




5 


5 


4 


4 


Housewives 


94 




20 


23 


29 


24 


Students & 
others 


93 




19 


22 


25 


22 



Frequency of television viewing 
% of occup. group 


Light 


Medium 


Heavy 


32 


26 


41 


40 


31 


30 


49 


31 


20 


35 


31 


34 



32 



30 



38 



Total 



94 



33 


30 


37 


26 


27 


48 


27 


28 


45 


32 


29 


40 



Source: Secreian of Stale, ,-f Leisure Study — Canada / 97.'' (Ottawa. 1973) 



Studies" suggest that a large majority of the 
Canadian population feels that the prime function of 
television is to pro\ide entertainment, relaxation, escape 
and relief from the cares of life. Since regularly- 
programmed radio was first introduced, large numbers 
of Canadians have been exposed to U.S. mass media. 
With the ad\ent of television this tendency increased, 
and cable further extended the range of .American 
programming beyond the border areas. When 
Canadians look for relaxation with television, they 



apparently look to American stations and programs, 
while U.S. television (channels or stations) is more 
popular than Canadian television. U.S. programs 
(shows) are even more popular than Canadian shows 
(Table 3-24. 3-25). The Canadian public sees American 
programs as better acted, more entertaining, more 
varied in subject and most significantly, more violent; 
Canadian programs are classified as more informative 
and more realistic (Table 3-26). 



Table 3-24 

Preferences of Canadians for American Television Stations by Age 



Canadian television 
American television 
Did not state 



Source: Canada. Senate. Special Committee on Mass Media. Vol. III. Good, Bad or Simply Inevitable? (Onuwu. 1970). p 131. 



Age 










Under 20 


20-24 


25-M 


Over 44 


Total 


40% 


38% 


38% 


42% 


43% 


58 


58 


59 


55 


54 


2 


4 


3 


3 


3 


100% 


100% 


100% 


100% 


100% 



nd 



Table 3-25 

Preferences of Canadians for American Programs by Age 



Canadian Programs 
American Programs 
Did not stale 



Age 










Under 20 


20-24 


25^M 


Over 44 


Tola) 


30% 


29% 


32% 


43% 


35% 


68 


67 


64 


51 


60 


2 


4 


4 


6 


5 


100% 


100% 


100% 


100% 


100% 



Source: Canada Senate. Special Committee on Mass Media. Vol, III. Good. Bad or Simply Inctiiable? (Ouavin. 1970). p 131. 

Table 3-26 

Comparison of American and Canadian Television Programs on Certain Characteristics 



Which generally . . . 

. . . have better acting? 

. . . are more entertaining? 

. . . tell you more about what's 
going on in the world? 

. . . are more realistic? 

. . . have more violence? 

. . . are more varied in the subjects 
they cover? 







No 


Don't 


American 


Canadian 


DifTerence 


Know 


60% 


11% 


21% 


8% 


65 


11 


18 


6 


24 


44 


23 


9 


21 


44 


23 


12 


78 


2 


14 


7 



48 



23 



18 



10 



Total 

100% 
100 

100 
100 
100 

100 



Source: (Br. What the Canadian Public Thinks of Television andofihc TV Services Pnnided hv est (Research Deparimcnl. Canadian Broadcasting Cor- 
poration. February 1974). p. 1 14 

Table 3-27 

Preference in English Canada for American or Canadian Television Programs: By Age of Viewer 





Age 
18-24 


25-34 


35^9 


50-64 


65 plus 


Total 


American programs are better 


60% 


56% 


51% 


43% 


41% 


50% 


Canadian programs are better 
The same, no preference 


12' 

35 
23 


29) 


> 


36) 


36) 


:;i 


Don't know 


6 


6 


7 


10 


10 


7 




100% 


100% 


100% 


100% 


100% 


100% 



Source: cac What the Canadian Public Thinks of Television and of the TV Services Provided hv ( «c (Research Deparimenl. Canadian Broadcasting Corpo- 
ration. February 1974). p. Ill 



135 



Table 3-27 indicates that preference for U.S. 
television programming increases with decreasing age. 
and does so quite dramatically. Almost half of those 
respondents over 50 years old considered Canadian 
programs to be as good as or better than American 
offerings, but the vounger groups all preferred 
American programming. These preferences and 
opinions are translated into actual \iewing behaviour, 
and it is assumed that such viewing is sustained over 
time. By extension, as the young American-preferring 
audience matures, with a younger and perhaps even 
more American-oriented audience to occupy themselves 
with U.S. television, the audience for Canadian English- 
language television programs cannot help but 
constantly shrink over time, and as the audience 
shrinks, so does advertiser support. 

This preference for American programs is further 
evidenced in Tables 3-13 and 3-16. The programs with 
the highest rating were primarily U.S. produced 
situation comedies, action/adventure, variety, and 
police/detective programs. More specifically, a 
comparison of Canadian-produced variety programs 
with U.S. -produced variety programs shown on the cbc 
and CT\ networks in 1975 and 1976 in prime time shows 
that the U.S. programs received considerably higher 
ratings. 

Preferences for ditTerent programs and classes of 
programs by age groups are indicated in Table 3-28. 
This table contains a sample of various programs within 
six identified program types shown in prime time along 
with their ratings. The ratings for each age group, 
indicating preferences, are distorted to a degree, partic- 
ularly for the young, because of the fact that certain 
programs, such as police- detective, are shown in the 
later hours. Nevertheless, certain observations can be 
made. Police/ detective programs are more popular 
among the age group 18 years and over than the other 
groups, whereas situation comedy and action 
/adventure are more popular among the teenage group. 
The action/adventure programs were also highly rated 
h\ children aged two-1 1. Musical/variety programs 
were more popular among the adult group, as were 
public affairs and documentarv programs. 

For the police detective programs listed in Table 3- 
28. the age group 17 years and under comprised 22 per 
cent or less, of the total audience viewing these 
programs. It is interesting to note that the most popular 
of the police detective programs among this age group 
was The Rookies rated in Julv 1976 bv the National 
Citizens Committee for Broadcasting as the second 
most violent program shown on television. When 
younger Canadians watch television, they are even 
more relaxation-and entertainment-oriented than their 
elders and they therefore choose American programs 
which they believe to be superior in this respect. It may 
be then, as Vernone Sparkes has suggested, that U.S. 
programs are preferred not simply because they are 



American, but because they meet the uses and gratifica- 
tions criteria of excitement, escape and entertainment 
that Canadian viewers are seeking from television and 
which Canadian programs at present fail to meet.^' 



Basic Subscription 

Cable operator's service charge 

Remainder 

Exhibitor (cable operator) (45%) 
Program Supplier (film producer) (40%) 
Distributor (15%) 

Remainder 



$8.00 
-2.00 

$6.00 

-2.70 
-2.40 
- .90 

$0.00 



6. Summary 

The objective of television networks and stations is to 
maximize audience size and in attempting to achieve 
this they are highly competitive. Ratings for television 
programs are an indicator of the degree of acceptance 
of a program bv audiences and all networks closely 
watch these ratings. Relatively low-rated programs are 
generally dropped, even after only a few weeks into a 
new season, and highly rated or successful programs, 
are imitated. The oligopolistic nature of the television 
industry, and the oligopoly games that networks engage 
in, have resulted in little diversity in programming and a 
high degree of homogeneity and stability in program 
schedules. A small number of program types tend to 
dominate prime-time. RecentK in the U.S. these have 
been situation-comedies, police detective, 
action 'adventure, and movies. Variety, drama, and 
sports programs are considerably less significant in 
terms of the proportion of prime-time that they occupy. 
Games of counter programming have resulted in a high 
degree of similarity in content in the schedules of the 
networks. 

In U.S. network programming in prime-time, 
situation-comedy programs had the highest average 
ratings over the past three seasons, and they were also 
less expensive per half-hour segment than 
police detective and action/adventure programs and 
movies. Producers have contended, however, that 
situation-comedies were more difficult to produce than 
most program types and that they had less value for 
syndication purposes and subsequent sale in foreign 
markets. Police detective and action adventure 
programs, where violence is generally found, follow a 
highly formulistic pattern, making script-writing easier. 
In addition, audience demographics show that 
programs of violence such as police/detective tend to be 
popular among the age group 18 years and over and it is 
this group which forms the greatest proportion of the 
television audience. This group, particularly those 
between the ages of 25-64 (61 per cent of the television 



136 



Table .V28 

Television Audiences for a Sample of Prime-time cbcctv Programs (Common Coverage Area) Early Fall J 975 

Distribution of Vie\\ers and Proi^ram Rating 

Total Persons 









+ 2 Years 


Adults +18 




Teens 12-17 




Children 2-11 




Program Class 

Police/Detective 
Kojak 


Day 
Sun. 


Time 
9:00 


Rating 

12 


; No. 
COOO) 

2.137 


Rating 
15 


No. 
COOO) 

1.838 


% 
86 


Rating 
11 


;No. 
COOO) 

238 


% 
II 


Ratins: No. 
^ COOO) 

2 62 


% 
03 


llarry-O 


Wed. 


10:00 


9 


1.590 


12 


1.428 


90 


6 


124 


08 


1 


38 


02 


Pelrocelli 


Mon. 


9:00 


10 


1.772 


12 


1,404 


79 


II 


244 


14 


4 


124 


07 


Streets of San 
Francisco 


Thur. 


8:30 


10 


1,646 


12 


1,402 


85 


8 


163 


10 


3 


81 


05 


The Rookies 


Tues. 


9:00 


11 


1,818 


12 


1.445 


79 


12 


266 


15 


4 


107 


06 


Snitch 


Fri. 


10:00 


8 


1,342 


9 


1.042 


78 


10 


211 


16 


3 


89 


06 






Average 10 




12.0 






9.6 






2.8 






Situation Comedy 
A 11 in the Family 


Mon. 


9:00 


20 


3,420 


23 


2.757 


80 


21 


449 


13 


7 


214 


06 


Happy Days 


Tues. 


8:00 


18 


3.075 


15 


1,827 


59 


31 


660 


21 


20 


588 


19 


Mary Tyler Moore 


Fri. 


8:00 


13 


2.207 


13 


1.615 


73 


13 


286 


13 


10 


306 


14 


That's My Mama 


Mon. 


7:00 


12 


2,113 


12 


1.473 


70 


14 


302 


14 


II 


338 


16 


Sanford & Son 


Fn. 


7:00 


11 


1,878 


11 


1.300 


69 


13 


272 


14 


10 


306 


16 


Rhoda 


Mon. 


8:00 


14 


2,369 


14 


1,725 


73 


16 


341 


14 


10 


304 


13 


Chico and the Man 


Mon. 


9:30 


13 


2,230 


15 


1,782 


80 


16 


340 


15 


4 


108 


05 


Action/Adventure 
The Waltons 


Sun. 


Averag 
8:00 


;e 14.4 
11 


1.967 


14.7 
12 


1.476 


75 


17.7 
12 


256 


13 


10.3 
8 


235 


12 


Invisible Man 


Mon. 


8:00 


14 


2.37! 


12 


1.501 


63 


19 


406 


17 


16 


464 


19 


Emergency 


Sat. 


7:00 


11 


1.912 


10 


1.234 


64 


12 


263 


14 


14 


415 


22 


The Beachcomers 


Sun. 


7:00 


11 


1,903 


10 


1.219 


64 


12 


252 


13 


15 


433 


23 






Average 1 1.7 




11.0 






13.8 






13.2 






Variety/Musical 

Pig'n Whistle 


Mon. 


IO:.W 


5 


893 


7 


848 


95 


1 


31 


03 


_._ 


14 


01 


Carol Burnett 


Ihurs. 


8:00 


13 


2.300 


13 


1,547 


67 


19 


402 


17 


12 


352 


15 


Irish Rovers 


Sun. 


7:30 


11 


1.890 


12 


1,429 


76 


8 


168 


09 


10 


293 


16 


Cher 


Sun. 


8:00 


12 


2.121 


13 


1,549 


73 


16 


341 


16 


8 


231 


II 


A II A round the 
Circle 


Sat. 


8:00 


5 


787 


5 


663 


84 


3 


57 


07 


2 


66 


08 


Game/Quiz 

This is the Law 


Tue. 


Average 9.2 
8:30 9 


1.468 


10.0 
9 


1,077 


73 


9.4 

9 


193 


13 


8.0 

7 


198 


13 


Celebrity Dominoes 


Fri. 


7:30 


5 


921 


5 


653 


71 


5 


108 


12 


5 


i.';9 


17 


Public Aflairs/ 
Documentary 




























fifth estate 


Tues. 


9:00 


6 


976 


7 


868 


89 


3 


55 


06 


1 


53 


05 


11-5 


Sun. 


10:00 


5 


919 


7 


857 


93 


2 


43 


05 


1 


19 


02 


Marketplace 


Sun. 


10:00 


8 


1,446 


11 


l,.^62 


94 


3 


68 


04 


1 


16 


01 


Snurcf RUM Bureau ot \lc 


'asurcmcnt 


Average 6.3 8.3 

. Tclcvi^inn Smnrk Reporl. Early Fall 1"^^ 




2.7 






1.3 







137 



audience) also constitute the bulic of consumer spending 
and are therefore the group which advertisers seek to 
reach. Producers maintain that police detective and 
action/adventure series are more certain in their 
audience appeal than comedies, varieties, and drama, 
even though statistics show that, between the seasons 
1974-75 and 1975-76 and the seasons 1975-76 and 1976- 
77. comedies had a lower turnover rate in comparison to 
police/ detective, action/adventure, variety and drama 
programs. 

U.S. television has had a great impact on Canadian 
television. The two major Canadian television networks, 
CBC and ctv, have tended to be more diversified in 
prime-time than their U.S. counterparts, but ct\ in 
particular has tended to follow closely U.S. network 
programming patterns with a high concentration of 
police detecdve and action/adventure programs in 
prime-time. This has been dictated by the fact that 
Canadian audience preferences are similar to those of 
Americans, that Canadian television is in direct compe- 
tition with American television in border areas and is in 
competition with American programs in areas served by 
cable, and that Canadians generally prefer U.S.-made 
programs. Both cbc and ctv, but particularly ctv. rely 
on U.S. programs programs at only a fraction of the 
cost of Canadian-made network or independent 
programs, and. in addition. U.S.-made programs 
usually generate more advertising revenue because of 
their higher ratings. These programs consequently 
subsidize the higher-cost, lower-rated Canadian-made 
programs. 



138 



Chapter Four 

Cable and Pay-TV 



A. Broadcasting Receiving Undertakings (Cable) 

/. Cahk Basics 

Basically, cable television is an antenna system linked 
to an individual subscriber's set by cable through a 
series of amplifiers, making it possible to bring in signals 
he could not otherwise obtain. Cable television 
commenced in Canada in the early 1950s and grew 
rapidly m an unregulated fashion. By the early 1960s it 
was apparent that this new technology would have great 
impact on our broadcasting system. Since microwave 
relays, a broadcast technology, required licensing and 
large capital investment to bring signals across long 
distances, cable systems were originally withheld from 
cities located too far from the U.S. stations. However, 
most of the larger centres had American stations within 
range of the cable operator's sensitive antennae. Incor- 
porated within the Broadcasting Act of 1968 was federal 
jurisdiction of broadcasting receiving undertakings, 
with the ( RTC assuming regulatory authority over cable, 
since the economic exploitation of the technology 
depended on receiving broadcast signals.' While 
attempting to slow the proliferation of U.S. stations into 
Canadian homes, the tric had to bend to the demands 
of the public and politicians for wider program ser\'ices. 
In 1971 the i Ric allowed microwave relay of foreign 
stations so that with the exception of Windsor and all 
major cities in Saskatchewan, all major cities are cabled. 

Per capita. Canada is b\ far the most cabled country 
in the world. Current statistics indicate that of the 6.7 
million households in Canada. 5 million homes are 
located in areas franchised for cable. Already there are 
4.75 million homes passed by cable to which 3 million 
households or 63 per cent subscribe. In all, 44 per cent 
of Canadian homes subscribe to cable.- (See Table 4-1) 

By comparison, the U.S. is approaching 1 1 million 
homes subscribing to cable or roughly 16 per cent of all 
households. 

2. Technology 

Cable, or more accurately, coaxial cable, is a wire, 
surrounded by air or polyethylene foam, wrapped in a 
circular shield of metal and covered with an insulating 
material. It diU'ers from an ordinary telephone wire in 



its capacity to carry much more simultaneous infor- 
mation over a longer distance (broadband). Whereas a 
telephone wire might conduct television programs for 
only a few feet, a standard coaxial cable is generally 
capable of delivering about 42 channels of television 
2,()00 feet, before reamplification is required, to a total 
distance of about 80,000 feet: that is, about 40 
amplifiers at most from where the signals are introduced 
into the .system (head end) to the furthest home still 
capable of receiving acceptable pictures. Of the approx- 
imately 42 channels which may be delivered to the 
home, the television receiver vhf tuner can select only 
programs from channels 2 to 13 for a total of 12 choices 
(the basic service).^ With the use of a "converter" 
additional channels can be tuned into the home set for a 
combined total of 10 or 24 channels (augmented 
service). Thirty-six-channel converters are starting to 
appear. At present the t hf tuner cannot be used and 
therefore l mf stations must be translated to a "V" 
channel or one of the converted channels (.A, B, C, D, 
E. et cetera). Also strong local stations must be moved 
to another channel and a vacated channel is considered 
"impaired" and may not be used to carry priority 
stations as determined by the crtc.'' 

Coaxial cable technology is by no means limited to 
television signals, but can be used for thousands of 
simultaneous telephone calls, high speed data transmis- 
sion, linking computers, and connecting terminals. In its 
present application, cable is essentially a one-way 
system analogous to a water works with a water lower 
(head end), mains (trunks), service connections (drops), 
and faucets (television sets). It offers no point-to-point 
service or switched capability. The ultimate of a two- 
way switched service permitting interactive communica- 
tions at the television or computer level from any 
specific home to any other specific home, is still a long 
time away. With current technology, it implies a 
multiplicity of cables and vastly more sophisticated 
switching devices than those presently used in telephone 
exchanges. This future capability, usually referred to as 
the "wired world", is far beyond the scope of this study, 
but some of the elements in its evolution are already 
apparent and will be discussed. Concurrently many 
other technological developments may modify or 



139 



Table 4-1 

Cable Television Subscribers in Canada 1912 to 1977 



Percentage of homes 



Province 


September-' 
1972 


September-' 
1973 


September-' 
1974 


September-' 
1975 


January *" 
1976 


Estiniated 
January 1'' 
1977 


Newfoundland 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Pnnce Edward Island 


- 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


Nova Scotia 


6.7 


13.1 


19.9 


23.5 


26 


32 


New Brunswick 


11.6 


11.4 


13.4 


22.6 


26 


32 


Quebec 


22.8 


25.6 


31.3 


36.6 


35 


40 


Ontario 


38.8 


45.3 


51.0 


51.7 


52 


55 


Manitoba 


20.7 


25.6 


32.8 


35.9 


38 


43 


Saskatchewan 


3.4 


3.4 


5.3 


3.9 


4 


5 


Alberta 


15.9 


27.7 


36.9 


41.2 


43 


44 


British Columbia 


58.0 


61.5 


64.5 


63.6 


67 


68 


Canada 


29.8 


34.7 


40.4 


41.9 


42 


44 



"BBM, Radio and Televiswn Data. 1972, 1973. 1974. and 1975. 
-Less than 21. 

''TV Bureau. June 1976 



redirect this process toward the "wired world" such as 
direct broadcast from satellites. In sum they all present 
the capability to extend the delivery of an ever-greater 
variety of program choice and content into the home. 
Doubtless, industry's perception of consumer desires 
and willingness to pay will determine w hich of the 
technologies will be advanced. 

-?. Economics of Cable 

Figures vary on the actual capital cost of cabling an 
urban area, but a reasonable estimate would be $90.00 
per home passed, assuming about 90 homes per mile, or 
slightly over $8,000 per mile. Some operators claim 
$10,000. others less. To this must be added the cost of 
the head-end which receives and translates the signals, 
any microwave charges to bring in distant stations, 
studios and production equipment, administrative and 
technical space and equipment. 

Invested capital per home passed in 1974 was $83.00.-' 
At current costs the figure now probably exceeds 
$100.00 per home passed or $150.00 per subscriber. ' 
Obviously, as the saturation ratio (homes subscribing to 
homes passed) increases, profitability increases 
markedly. Curiously, the larger cable systems do not 
demonstrate economies of scale as well as the mid-sized 
systems do. ' This may be due to relatively equivalent 
unit costs per subscriber and somewhat lower saturation 
figures for the larger systems which tend to be located in 
areas where over-the-air signals from the U.S. penetrate 
the market. 



Revenues are received, firstly, as an installation 
charge for connecting the home to the cable. This 
charge currently is in the order of S 1 5.00 but established 
systems are seeking to raise the figure to $25.00. 
Secondly, the monthly fee charged for the basic service 
is usually $5.50 ($2.00 -$3.00 additional for augmented 
service) and again rate increases are being sought. In 
the case of augmented service, the necessary converter 
may be rented ($2.50 per month), purchased from the 
cable operator, or purchased on the open market: it 
costs anywhere from $50.00 to $125.00. .\\. present, the 
sale of advertising by the cable operator is forbidden. In 
the U.S. this is allowed but onK in content originated 
by the cable operator. 

The most recent financial statistics available for cable 
are indicated in Table 4-2. 

Recent estimates place total cable earnings at almost 
$200 million per year. From the table it may be noted 
that the cable industry is profitable, rather capital-inten- 
sive, and spends three to four per cent of revenue on 
programs. Since this expenditure is on locally-produced 
programs of a community nature not involving 
dramatic treatments or news reporting, violent themes 
in cable-originated production are not significant. 

In Canada, cable is essentially a form of subscription 
pay-television. The subscriber is purchasing, for a 
monthly fee, the opportunity to watch programs from 
distant (U.S.) stations not othenvise easily obtainable. 
Improved local reception may also be a factor since, to 



140 



Table 4-2 

Financial Siimmarv of Private Cable Broadcasting 
Industry 





($ Millions) 






1974 


1975 


Total Operating Revenues 


133 


161 


Expenses 

Program 

Technical 

Sales 

Administration 

Depreciation 

Interest 

Other expenses (Income) 


5 
27 

7 
27 
29 
11 


6 

35 
8 
37 
33 
14 
(2) 


Total Expenses 


106 


131 


Income before Income Taxes 


27 


30 


Provision tor Income Tax 


13 


15 


Net Income 


14 


15 


Gross Fixed Assets Employed 


320 


358 


Total No. of Employees 


3,764 


4,155 


Source; <RI< Annual Report 1975 76, 







a degree, the option of watching U.S. stations over-the- 
air in our southern major markets still remains. Essen- 
tially, the purchase decision is ba.sed on gaining wider 
program choice. 

4. Impact of Cable on Canadian Broadcasting 
a) Economic Impact 

Studies have suggested that the economic position of 
conventional broadcasters, in light of increasing cable 
penetration, is extremely complex. The variables which 
need to be considered are: the broadcast station's 
network affiliation, the number and tvpes of television 
stations available ofl"-the-air within the statu)n's 
coverage area, the number and types of channels that 
are available via cable; and the percentage penetration 
of the cable system(s) in the station's coserage area.* 
While adding to the complexity of the situation 
involved. Babe"* nonetheless forsees "a substantial, 
permanent decline in television advertising in Canada" 
when U.S. television obtains something like a 30-40 per 
cent share of Canadian viewing time. Similar but less 
bold and specific conclusions are reached bv Woods, 
Gordon & Co.'" in their studv of the impact of cable ir 
five representative markets, f hev found that cable did 
reduce the audience share ol established local stations, 
but that the financial impact of this loss had been 
largely offset by the growth of population in the markets 



and the general acceptance by advertisers of substan- 
tiallv increased advertising rates. 

Although our major broadcasting stations are 
enjoying large annual gains and even the Global 
Television Network is realizing operating profits, the 
smaller stations are in considerable difficulty even to the 
point of failure (Pembroke) as advertisers consolidate 
their television budgets in "must buy" markets. 

Since it is the first requirement of the c Rrc to protect 
the national system and its economic viability, a 
number of economic strategies have been employed. 
They deal with attempting to recapture for our broad- 
casters, dollars spent by Canadian advertisers on the 
U.S. stations which reach Canadian audiences. 

i) Bill C-58: An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act - 
has been implemented; businesses may no longer 
deduct as a business expense monies spent on foreign- 
owned broadcasting outlets. 

ii) Commercial deletion - a policy of removing some 
of the commercials on U.S. stations carried by cable 
and replacing them with public service announcements. 
This would deprive the advertiser of certainty that his 
message would be seen. Recently this policy has been 
moth-balled until the results of Bill C-58 can be evalu- 
ated; the assumption is that this will take until .August 
1977 at least." 

Since both these policies are ver\ offensive to U.S. 
commercial interest, commercial deletion, at least 
temporarily, has been traded for Bill C-58. 

.Another policy requires cable operators to substitute 
the "Canadian edition" of anv U.S. -produced program 
transmitted by a U.S. station simultaneously with its 
airing on a Canadian station. Until recently. Canadian 
television broadcasters took advantage of pre-release 
over their American counterparts. Now in many 
instances these programs are simultaneously broadcast, 
obliging the cable system to carry the Canadian adver- 
tising over both channels. This polic\ will certainly 
reduce the cost-per-thousand to the Canadian adver- 
tiser, possibly reduce the "spill-over" effect whereby a 
U.S. parent company mas have lowered its subsidiarv 
company's advertising budget in Canada, on the 
strength of having already partially reached this market, 
and certainly this policy will cut in half the opportu- 
nities available for viewing particular programs. 
•Another approach, never implemented, involves 
requiring the cable systems to rebate money to 
Canadian broadcasters for use of their signals. This 
monev would be directed to a.ssisting the smaller 
stations and enhancing Canadian production. Inherent 
in all the above policies is the desire to bring economic 
support to the creation of more attractive, more varied, 
and more appropriate Canadian programs. 

b) Impact of Cable on the .Audience 

Although the overall economic impact of cable on 
over-the-air broadcasters is not clear, it certainly has 
not been beneficial, and it hasn't made it easier to 



141 



provide money for improved Canadian programs. 
However, one thing is very clear: while the viewing of 
Canadian stations has suffered, it is the viewing of 
Canadian programs which has dropped alarmingly. As 
noted in Chapter 3. Canadians generally watch only one 
hour in three of Canadian programs (Toronto - one 
hour in four).'' Paradoxically, although the public 
considers that U.S. programs are decidedly more 
violent,'^ they also perceive these programs as more 
professional, more rela.xing and more entertaining.'''. 
Our figures show that loyalty to Canadian programs 
diminishes rapidly with the decreasing age of the 
viewer." Much of this can be attributed to the prolifer- 
ation through cable of otherwise unobtainable U.S. 
stations. (The licensing of additional Canadian stations 
no doubt has also increased the opportunities to view 
American content.) Primarily Canadians are watching 
U.S. entertainment programs tempered by some 
Canadian national news and sports and local news and 
public affairs. This viewing imbalance is greatest in 
cable homes and most marked in young people. The 
evidence suggests that the trend will continue and that 
the viewing habits formed by the young will persist. 
Attitudes and tastes are, and will increasingly continue 
to be, shaped by massive exposure to U.S. television 
content. Regardless of whatever sanctions or standards 
with respect to violence might be imposed on Canadian 
programs or even U.S. programs broadcast in this 
country, these restrictions will have slight influence on 
the preponderance of content which will actually be 
viewed if the present structure of cable remains the 
same."" 

5. Recent Developments 

Until recently, federal policy has been to treat cable as a 
component of a single federally regulated broadcasting 
system. It treats the cable operator as a broadcaster 
with the role of developing a unique community service 
not provided by conventional broadcasters, by inviting 
active participation of the viewer in his local 
programming.'^ But since cable is very much a local 
undertaking, doesn't cross provincial boundaries, and is 
in reality a broadband telecommunications delivery 
system, the provinces have disputed federal control and 
exclusive jurisdiction. The cable technology may be 
simultaneously used for many other services which offer 
attractive economic possibilities, such as remote sensing 
of utility meters; remote alarms for fire, theft, or 
ambulance; in-home shopping and learning, et cetera, 
and even ultimately the futuristic applications 
associated with the "wired world". In this light, cable 
appears to be more of a telecommunications common 
carrier capable of leasing channel space to a variety of 
users. Without the introduction of received broadcast 
signals into the system, the technology is clearly outside 
the scope of the Broadcasting Act and becomes a closed 
circuit device not regulable by federal jurisdiction. 
However, the economics of cable until now have been 



dependent on the sale and distribution of distant 
broadcast signals to areas of urban density housing. 

It is now becoming more apparent that closed-circuit 
systems offering newer or different contents could be 
viable, e.g. Network One in Toronto" and the policy of 
the Saskatchewan government." The implications of 
this could be the proliferation of virtually uncontrolled 
content coupled with the further destruction of the 
national service. Also the transition of cable into a 
telecommunications common carrier, e.g. Manitoba, ^^ 
while leaving program content within federal jurisdic- 
tion, no doubt will redirect the profits derived from 
ancillary and many future services away from our 
broadcasting system to the telecommunications compa- 
nies. 

These changes in the Canadian approach to cable 
have been precipitated by the advent of pay-TV. At 
present, pay-TV alone won't support separate closed- 
circuit cabling except in areas of highest density (high 
rises, condominiums), but the addition of other services 
and possibly advertising could extend these systems. In 
the near future optical fibre technology promises to 
sharply reduce the costs of broadband 
communications.^' 

B. Pay-TV 

Pay-TV was originally conceived as the over-the-air 
broadcasting of programs scrambled or made 
unviewable through some technical process. With the 
payment of a fee the home viewer could watch the 
unscrambled program of his choice. Tantalizing ideas of 
symphonies, ballets, experimental and foreign film, a 
whole universe of programs directed to minority tastes 
was the promise of the new medium. Freed from the 
pressure of mass audience appeal which enslaved the 
commercial offerings to their cost-per-thousand ratings, 
new high-quality programs, heretofore unobtainable, 
could be purchased for viewing in the comfort of the 
home. Seemingly, the new economics of consumer- 
supported rather than advertiser-supported programs 
would make this revolution possible. Extremes of taste - 
artistic, sporting, dramatic, even sick. - could be accom- 
modated in a system which allowed the individual to 
make deliberate personal choices rather than select 
from a common base of programs in general broadcast. 

;. A Short History of Pay-TV 
Earliest actual experiments began in 1950 in the U.S. 
but subsided while the courts debated whether this 
actually constituted "broadcasting" within the meaning 
of the Communications Act. After this issue was 
resolved in 1962, the fcc (Federal Communications 
Commission) authorized the Hartford, Connecticut 
pay-TV experiment. Via over-the-air transmission, a 
program selection consisting mainly of feature films 
plus a few sporting events was shown. In Canada, 
Etobicoke was the site of another experiment, but this 
time cable was the means of distribution and the 



142 



subscribers placed coins in a box to view the programs. 
Both experiments were variously labelled as failures; 
however, a number of factors were not taken into 
consideration. In the Hartford case, a great deal of 
experimenting was done with the program content and 
the method of metering subscriber usage was rather 
awkward. In Etobicoke, the pay system called for the 
installation of cable for pay-TV alone, rather than pay- 
TV being an additional source of revenue to a cable 
which was already paying its way by providing a basic 
service of distant signals. 

During the next few years in the U.S.. court actions to 
prohibit pay-TV were brought against the ice by the 
cinema owners who felt the medium threatened their 
livelihood, and also by the conventional broadcasters 
who not unrealistically feared that their more choice 
programs would be lured away to the new medium. A 
shift from advertiser-supported television to consumer- 
supported television was in the making, and although 
fewer viewers might be reached, the economics were 
such that vastly more monies could be spent for the 
content. Although the U.S. cinema owners eventually 
lost their case, the conventional broadcasters fought 
doggedly for the bannmg or restricting of pay-TV to 
prevent the programs now aired for "free", being 
"siphoned-otr' leaving the consumer (with his large 
investment in a television set) to watch the leftovers.^^ 
California citizens, at the broadcasters' behest, even 
passed a law by referendum - later reversed - prohib- 
iting pay-TV in their state. 

Beginning in the 1970s the rec hoped to resolve the 
arguments by issuing a set of anti-siphoning regulations 
designed to protect the existing programs on advertis- 
er-supported television (and the consumer's investment 
in his set) while "permittmg new uses of the broadcast 
waves". In essence, these regulations required that a 
pay-TV operator could use only feature films younger 
than three years, or older than ten, or foreign films, or 
films for which the broadcaster had no interest. By and 
large, sports events shown on pay-TV could not include 
those currently being broadcast or special sports events 
such as the Olympics if they had been broadcast within 
the last ten years. In total, feature film and sports events 
were not to occupy more than 90 per cent of the 
program schedule.^^ (N.B. Late correction: see 
endnote 30) 

In spite of the huge revenue potential and the 
resolution of legal problems, over-the-air pay-TV. until 
recently, has been rather slow to develop for a number 
of reasons. Feasibility studies indicated that the public 
was not particularly interested - probably due to a 
general ignorance about the nature and potential of 
pay-TV. Really efficient and secure (uncheatable) 
systems for broadcasting scrambled signals, unscram- 
bling them, and metering the consumer's viewing of 
each program, ha\e only now become available. 
Fmally, pay-TV licences were restricted primarily to 
those broadcasters in large cities who were presumed to 



be in financial difficulties. They therefore lacked the 
adequate financial resources to start up and exploit the 
new medium.^'' 

Now that the technical problems have been solved 
and the consumer has demonstrated interest, several 
large companies, e.g. The Wometco Corporation, are 
moving in and the full impact of over-the-air pay-TV 
will shortly appear on the American scene.-^ 

2. The Current U.S. Pay-Ty System 
A variant of pay-TV which makes use of the established 
U.S. cable systems has surged ahead. In essence the 
cable subscriber gains unlimited viewing of a special 
channel of selected programs for a monthly fee (average 
$8.00) additional to the basic fee (average $7.00). This 
system is referred to as "pay-per-channel" and. 
curiously, in our Canadian discussions this approach 
has become synonymous with pay-TV. and by infer- 
ence, synonymous with cable. 

In this context it should be noted that the devel- 
opment of cable systems in the United States has 
differed markedly from Canada. The U.S. major cities 
with the exception of Manhattan are not cabled. As in 
Canada, the extension of cable and the willingness of 
the consumer to subscribe, have depended on the 
importation of distant signals. For Canadians this has 
meant U.S. stations. For the U.S. consumer this has 
meant stations not otherwise available in the commu- 
nity. Of the large U.S. cities, at this time, it is only in 
Manhattan that there is sufficient consumer demand for 
cable as a means of overcoming reception problems due 
to industrial interference and "ghosting" to warrant the 
expense of a cable system. (However, newer and 
cheaper technologies involving multi-channel omni-di- 
rectional microwave - known as mds - transmitting the 
television signals to an individual building for internal 
distribution by cable, or even homes, is advancing 
rapidly. See mds - Chapter 5) 

The apparent plan in the United States, therefore, is 
for pay-TV to be distributed over the air in most major 
cities and by cable in the smaller centres. In Canada it is 
the major centres that are cabled while the smaller 
communities (and rural areas) are not. 

This pay-cable system developed because, although 
most U.S. cable operators were making money, in 
general they were working with smaller systems and 
with lower ratios of homes subscribing, to homes passed 
by cable, than their Canadian counterparts. Therefore 
the attraction of providing other ser\ices to produce 
revenue, since the use of additional channels (cable can 
carry up to 42 channels) meant slight or negligible 
further cost, was very enticing. 

Rapidly, a number of program suppliers came into 
being who would either supply a "menu" of programs 
for a single channel or negotiate on behalf of the cable 
operator with the Hollywood producers for the rights to 
program a channel of pay-TV. Already a number of 
cable operators had had to offer a channel of feature 



143 



films in addition to the distant stations in order to gam 
basic subscribers. Now, with better product available, 
they were able to charge an additional fee for a pay 
channel. In general, this amounted to $8.00 a month, of 
which the cable operator kept approximately half and 
the program producers and suppliers took the rest; 
$4.00 a month would not pay for a cable system, but as 
an additional revenue over and above the $7.00 
subscription received for the basic service, it repre- 
sented a highly profitable extra. This rather primitive 
pay-TV then depended on an existing cable system 
programming one or possibly two channels for which 
the \ iewer paid $8.00 per channel a month to view 
primarily six to eight new feature films per month, each 
repeated many times that month and the following 
month, plus assorted other content. Non-subscribers 
were prevented from viewing the pay channel by a trap 
(filter) placed at the connection to their home, or the 
signal was scrambled and pay subscribers were 
provided with a descrambler. On this basis less than a 
year ago there were a quarter million subscribers. The 
number now is probably close to one million, or about 
1.5 per cent of the television homes in the U.S. or 9 per 
cent of the 1 1 million cable homes (see Table 4-3). 



Table 4-3 



Growth of Pay-Cable Broadcasting in the U.S. 



Date 


Pay-cable 
Systems 


Pay-cable 
Subscribers 


4/1/73 


10 


18,400 


7/15/73 


20 


35,400 


2/1/74 


38 


48.300 


5/15/74 


45 


66,900 


9/1/74 


50 


100,120 


12/31/74 


55 


140,000 


3/31/75 


62 


188,835 


6/30/75 


75 


264,575 


9/30/75 


104 


351,250 


12/31/75 


170 


469,030 


3/31/76 


190 


633,250 


6/30/76 


253 


766,100 


Source: Paul Ka^an 


Smslelter. Nov. 30. 1976. 





Table 4-4 contrasts the growth of commercial 
television use in the late 1940s and early 1950s with the 
growth of pay-TV use in the 1970s. 

Several recent phenomena have been noted and some 
have raised alarm. Penetration rates for pay-per- 
channel cable had been projected to reach 35 to 40 per 
cent or more of cable subscribers. However, in the last 
six months the number of disconnects (people quitting 



Table 4-A 

Commercial Televi.sion and Pay-TV as Consumer Phe- 
nomena 

Commercial Sets 
Year in Use 



1947 
1948 
1949 

1950 
1953 

Year 

1973 
1974 
1975 
1976 

1979 

Source: Paul Kagan Newsleiier. Nov. 30, 1976. 



16,000 

190,000 

1,000,000 

4,000,000 

21,200,000 

Pay-TV 
Customers 

16,000 

50,000 

190,000 

744,050 

2,500,000 (est.) 



the service) and the '"churn" ratio (ratio of people 
leaving to new subscnbers) have been very high. These 
are indications that penetration of pay cable may 
stabilize at only 20 to 25 per cent of cable subscribers. 
This question of disconnects was one of major concern 
at the recent (November 1976) convention of the 
Western Cable Television .'\ssociation at Anaheim, 
California. Most of the blame was placed on the lack of 
abundance of reallv suitable feature films. It was 
strongly noted that the consumer most commonly 
rejects the service because of particular movies that 
don't appeal and the frequency of repeats. What this 
implies is that the consumer feels he buys a complete 
service for a month and that everything should be 
equally attractive and continually different. He lacks a 
sense of "perceived value" in enjoying two or three of 
the eight new movies per month. He also equates the 
pay channel with conventional television with the 
expectation of continuous gratification while 
demanding content not generally available on adver- 
tiser-supported television. In effect, pay-per-channel 
cable is subject to the same pressures toward lowest- 
common-denominator programming. It is far more 
important not to displease the subscriber than to please 
him," 

In making any assumptions about current U.S. pay- 
TV, it should be kept in mind that present pay-TV 
subscription is limited to cable subscribers who, by 
definition, are heavy consumers of conventional 
television programming, so much so, that they are 
willing to pay $7.00 per month for a few additional 
distant stations. Basically this system fails to reach 



144 



those who are not interested in conventional television 
but might be desirous of very diH'erent tare. These facts 
should indicate a strong caveat to our own pay-TV 
planning or our reliance on the experience of current 
U.S. models. 

3. Programming on Pay Cable in the U. S. 
Unless Canada deliberately adopts a distinctly different 
system our programming will closely paralled the U.S. 
pattern. We will to some extent be governed by the 
basic content, release patterns, and marketing strategies 
associated with HolKwood feature tilms. 

The actual content of the pav-channel varies from 
location to location depending on whether the cable 
operator makes his own arrangements for the programs, 
whether the operator subscribes to a service, whether 
the operator belongs to a chain of cable systems which 
has worked out its own package of programs, or 
whether a program supplier has leased a channel from 
the cable operator and supplies the programs for that 
channel. I he largest supplier of programs is Home Box 
Otlice (MHO) of New York, a Time-Life Inc. subsidiary 
and pioneer in the use of satellite transmission to 
distribute 12 hours of programs each day to about 40 
locations. At the time of this writing. Home Box Office 
is estimated to have half a million subscribers or half of 
the cable homes which subscribe to a pay service in the 
U.S. The subscriber receives not only fairly recent 
feature films such as Farewell Mv Lovely. Rollerhall, 
Swcpi Awav. et cetera, but specially produced programs 
like The Belie Midler Show. Les Folies Bergere. and 
uncensored comedians in performance "on location". 
Home Box Office has also carried, via satellite from 
Europe, the non-televi.sed tennis matches at Wimbleton 
and many league games of the National Basketball 
Association and the National Soccer League which 
were not otherwise televised. They have also experi- 
mented with the use of rather avant-garde film as 
indicated by their purchase of content from the 
Independent Cinema Artists and Producers Associa- 
tion. 

The other major program suppliers is Telemation 
Program Services (an iibo subsidiary) which distributes 
its feature films and other programs via video-cassette. 
This company acts rather more like a film booker than 
an actual program supplier since it usually negotiates 
with the film producer for the rights for use in a 
particular market and the cable operator himself signs 
the contract with the film producer. In this wav a much 
more flexible "menu" may be otTered by the local cable 
operator by taking into account particular community 
tastes. In all cases the program suppliers have avoided 
any X-rated films, probably because it is a sensitive and 
untested issue and the pav-per-channel approach 
doesn't lend itself to control of content by the parent in 
the home. There is some evidence that those cable 
.systems using lelemation Program Services (its) 
achieve higher penetrations of pay-TV subscribers than 



does Home Box Oflice,-' which is attributed to the tps 
capability of tailoring the program mix to a specific 
community. 

Essentially, pay-cable is a movie channel - sports and 
specially produced programs are not really significant to 
date. Table 4-5 shows the number of movies in pay 
distribution, their source and ratings. 

This table shows that the distribution of ratings is 
skewed more toward G and PG than is the overall 
Hollywood product destined for theatrical release. 
None of the X-rated pictures are shown on pay-per- 
channel cable: they appear only on pay-per-program 
systems, primarily hotel pay-TV. 



Table 4-5 

Types of Films Available in U.S. Pay TV and Their DIs- 

irihuiors. Fall 1976. 





1976 








October 


November December 


Films in pay- 
TV circulation 


249 


254 


261 


Rated G 


31 


30 


34 


Rated PG 


107 


108 


lis 


Rated R 


73 


77 


74 


Not Rated 


30 


31 


28 


Rated X 


8 


8 


10 


Distributor: 








20th Century Fox 


31 


31 


32 


United Artists 


28 


30 


30 


Warner Bros. 


29 


30 


27 


Columbia 


21 


21 


23 


Paramount 


21 


21 


19 


Amer. Intl. 


n/a 


n/a 


16 


Universal 


16 


16 


16 


Source: Compilation of Paul Kl 


i^an Sewsletters 







In the face of disconnects and a shortage of "good" 

films many new economic strategies are being tried. 
One approach is to offer less for less, e.g. four new 
movies a month for $4.00. Another is to offer two 
different channels - one for family viewing restricted to 
four to five G and PG films a month, the other channel 
basically offering R material. Each channel would cost 
$5 to 6 with a discount for subscribing to both. Consid- 
erable pressure will be placed on the 1 1 ( to mitigate the 
3-10 \ear rule and make considerabK more film 
available to paN-TV.-" Since L'.S. cable systems are 
required to lease channels to others if so requested, 
newer pay-TV operators are demanding access and 



145 



soon single cable systems will be oflering competing 
pay-TV channels. Optical Systems Ltd. (a pay-TV 
program distributor with a satellite delivery system - 
Western Union's Westar) is invading this competitive 
field. In all of this, immense sums of money are being 
invested in the future of pay-TV and earth-receiving 
stations are proliferating throughout the U.S. hbo. 
although yet to make a profit, is assuming the propor- 
tions of a "fourth" network with production facilities, 
large investments in developing new programs, and an 
instantaneous nationwide program delivery system. 

Costs of feature film to the cable operator vary 
depending to some degree on the quality of the film, the 
number of subscribers on the system, and the number of 
exposures given. Present pricing is in the range of 1': to 
7 cents per subscriber per showing. In general the 
producer receives about 35 cents per subscriber for use 
of his film. He would much prefer a direct percentage of 
the interest generated by his film similar to the cinema 
box office, but that is only possible in a pay-per- 
program mode. 

The allocation of charges in pay-per-channel vary 
from system to system but, using the Paul Kagan 
newsletter figures, these may be generalized into a 
model which shows the following: 

Basic subscription $8.00 

Cable operator's service charge -2.00 

Remainder $6.00 

Exhibitor (cable operator) (45%) -2.70 

Program supplier (film producer) (40%) -2.40 

Disrributor(15Sc) -.90 

Remainder $0.00 

From the above it can be seen that although the 
program supplier receives 40 per cent, in reality it is 
only 30 per cent of the gross subscription. The 
distributor receives 1 1 per cent of the gross and the 
exhibitor - that is the cable operator - approaches 60 
per cent when the service charge is included. This is 
currently a very contentious area. In effect, a cable 
operator, by owning "the theatre", has the dominant 
position. (The inference can also be drawn that when a 
cable operator has been cast in the role of a common 
carrier, with a channel leased from him for 80c a month, 
he has still made money; therefore this is not an unreal- 
istic figure for rental of a channel.) 

The division of money, in the case of Home Box 
Office in particular, and the above system in general 
have caused several altercations. From time to time this 
has led to the withholding of product from the market. 
At the moment there seems to be a sort of armed truce 
but this has stiffened the obduracy of the film producers 
to move for pay-per-program pay-TV. 

As noted before, the rate of consumption of suitable 
Hollywood product has, from time to time, created a 
very tight situation. When there is a sufficient base of 
pay subscribers in the U.S., it is obvious that the 
Hollywood majors will make a concerted effort to 
transpose the system into pay-per-program. 



All the various systems of pay-per-channel are using 
essentially the same Hollywood feature film product 
because until recently they were not directly competing 
with one another in the same market. The most 
distinctly different service is Home Box Office which 
sees economic reason to generate its own content and 
provide a wide diversity of program types thereby rigor- 
ously avoiding the classification of being "the movie 
channel". From this, one senses economic experimen- 
tation to discover consumer interests and provide some 
alternatives to Hollywood dominance. 

The Hollywood majors look upon pay-TV as an 
additional source of revenue which will not diminish the 
theatrical box office or sales to conventional broad- 
casting. In total gross this source is at present very small 
compared to the other two. Their willingness to go 
along with current pricing levels and release their films 
to pay-TV indicates that they wish pay-cable to succeed 
and flourish and that the medium represents a new and 
unexploited market. To this end the major Hollywood 
studios are rapidly developing specialized departments 
for pay-TV, e.g. Hollywood Home Theatre (Twentieth 
Century Fox and United Artists). 

4. Pay-per-program Pay -TV 

Pay-per-program pay-TV was the original concept of 

pay-TV and one tested in Hartford and Etobicoke in 
the early 1960s. Ideally, this approach should lead to a 
wide diversity of program content heretofore unavail- 
able, much less common-denominator programming, 
and much greater interaction between the consumer 
and the program producer. Yet exploitation of this 
marketing approach hasn't happened so far except in a 
few isolated instances. The first big problem has been 
inadequate technology. 

a) Technolog)' of Pay-per-program 

All pay-TV depends on some system of providing 
the subscriber with a service but denying it to those who 
don't pay. Pay-per-program additionally requires some 
system of metering the individual consumption of pro- 
grams. A number of technologies are in current use, and 
more are becoming operational now and in the near fu- 
ture. 

The first problem of security which applies also to 
pay-per-channel is dealt with in a number of ways. 
Firstly, a trap may be placed outside the home or at the 
set of every basic cable subscriber which when removed 
will allow the passage of the pay-channel into the pay 
subscriber home. This is a cheap device, probably in the 
order of $3.00 or $4.00 plus installation (which generally 
includes the cost of selling the service in the first place), 
and costs the subscriber in the order of $15.00 to $25.00. 
Problems with this device are that it must be installed in 
all non-subscribers' homes and then selectively 
removed. In effect, the technology is provided to those 
who don't pay. In the home or apartment building, it 
may easily be removed by amateurs, thereby defeating 
its security purpose. Outside the home, a number of 
stories have arisen about roving gangs, for a modest fee. 



146 



providing people with the pay-service at no additional 
cost. The trouble here is not that the amount of theft is 
that great, but that the honest subscriber becomes 
disenchanted, feeling himself in a climate of those who 
are cheating and getting away with it, and in frustration, 
cancels. It is not known how senous the problem is, but 
there has been considerable talk that traps are an 
obsolete approach and it appears that cable operators in 
the U.S. are already moving to better devices. 

The second major technology involves scrambling 
and descrambling the signal. The pay channel is intro- 
duced into the cable system in some distorted form and 
with the application of a device at the set the consumer 
is able to recover a viewable picture. This level of 
technology probably costs in the order of $25.00. 
Although some e.xceedingly cheap filter-restorers have 
been developed, the disadvantages are that in some 
systems the picture may be damaged, that the consumer 
is unaware of whether his set is malfunctioning or the 
picture is scrambled, that the device may be limited to a 
single channel, and that the devices may well proliferate 
through radio appliance stores or some such means and 
it would therefore be impossible to prevent their ready 
acquisition by anyone. 

In the U.S. the installation of converters in order to 
pick up the mid-band channels has been used as a 
method of providing the security. This has already been 
tried in Canada and has failed. In any case, most of our 
major cities, if not already using converters, are at the 
threshold of requiring them. 

Encoding and decoding of the picture information 
and control of sound are found in the system used by 
Western Codavision (Pay Television Corporation of 
New York) and nearing production at Electrohome in 
Kitchener. This is a highly secure system which depends 
upon a code in the signal, a code on a card, and the 
code of the individual box to restore the picture. It is an 
expensive technology ($125.00) compared to traps, but 
has the advantages of allowing pay-per-program multi- 
channel conversion service, in-home security (i.e. 
removal of the card), and the rendering of the picture 
unviewable in a rational fashion. 

And finally there is the "smart" tap which involves a 
distribution point at the drop connection feeding 
approximately four homes individualK and contains the 
technology to shut off the entire service or introduce 
scrambling signals into the pay channels at the call of a 
central computer in any of these homes. The cost of a 
four-home unit is in the order of $130.00 not counting 
the computer and programming. It is highly secure and 
can provide for a pay-per-program capability as long as 
the programming is pre-ordered b\ the subscriber and 
entered into the computer, i.e. a subscriber calls by 
telephone some period in advance of the program 
wanted. This can. however, cut down on impulse buying 
since in large systems, the telephone couldn't handle a 
large volume of calls just prior to a much sought-after 
event. 



A number of systems have been developed for over- 
the-air pay-TV which provides varying degrees of 
security and varying capabilities of pay-per-program. 
Six systems have fcc approval but they reduce to essen- 
tially four systems. Blonder-Tongue, a scrambler- 
descrambler on a per-month basis (newer models have 
some pre-program capability): Oak Industries a 
scrambler-descrambler on a monthly basis: the 
Teleglobe system currently being installed in Los 
Angeles which encodes and decodes but primarily offers 
a monthly channel with six optional tickets to allow 
additional charging for up to six special events (this 
technology costs in the order of $1(X).(X) per home); and 
the Pay Television Corporation's Canadian devel- 
opment which encodes and decodes with full pay-per- 
program capacity for more than one channel and costs 
approximately $ 1 25.(X), depending on whether such 
features as conversion (applicable only to cable) and 
remote tuning are supplied. It is reported to contain a 
high grade i Hi tuner and in most over-the-air applica- 
tions converts the L hf station to a "V" channel. 

In addition to the pay-per-view technologies noted 
above, the Columbus, Ohio pay-per-view cable system 
which lacks proper security (it relies upon a converter) 
has developed a very effective metering device. TTiey 
have succeeded in developing an upstream capability 
within the cable system without reliance upon a phone 
line, for end of the day addressing and metering. In 
essence, their system is based on subdividing their array 
of homes into sections and subsections and being able 
to measure each home individually in groups of 100 to 
200 thus overcoming the noise problem if all subscribers 
were generating return signals on the entire array at 
once. 

There are many advantages to this "upstream" 
system. Notably, the consumer simply turns the key on 
in order to gain access to the pay channels (in this case 
four) and by simply tuning to a channel, the fact is 
noted in the central computer. If the channel is tuned to 
a particular pay channel for a sufficient length of time, 
then a charge is made. This allows the subscriber to 
pre\ iew and sample programs without activating a 
charge. The system is also highly amenable to other 
services such as emergency alarm or public utility 
metering and represents the beginning of a two-way 
cable system. There seems to be a lot of conflict in the 
area of cost. The operators of this system indicate that 
the basic unit in the home costs approximately $40.00 
which includes conversion and return radio signalling. 
The costs of conversion to two-way are very modest but 
are dependent upon the nature of an existing one-way 
cable system. .According to the Columbus operator, in 
addition to the code-operated switches, costs of 
upgrading to two-svay capacitv or changing amplifiers 
should not exceed approximately $500.00 per mile and 
could be considered less. One other advantage of this 
system is continuous monitoring of signal strengths and 
qualities at the terminations of all branches of the 



147 



system. Faults are generally discovered long before the 
consumer is aware of them and most subscriber 
complaints can be analyzed immediately from the 
central office to determine whether the system or the 
consumer's set is at fault. 

A newer and untried system is one in which a device 
on the consumer's set stores digital mformation 
concerning the viewing amounts and times on the pay 
channels. This information is accessed by telephone line 
in the early morning hours similar to meter reading and 
the print-out of each consumer's daily usage is then 
available. This system depends on a sophisticated clock 
(expensive) which must not be subjected to power 
failures. 

At present there appear to be three currently opera- 
tional fully pay-per-program technologies. 

i) The addressable tap for small cable systems and 
hotel applications. 

ii) The Pay-TV Corporation's card punchmg system 
for over-the-air and possibly cable applications. 

iii) The Telecinema of Columbus two-way cable 
return feed metering. 

b) Programming on Pay-per-program 

Over-the-air subscription television (stv) will likely be 
limited to one channel in an area. Such a scarcity of 
prime-time and limited hours will generally cause 
economic pressures to achieve mass appeal. It will lend 
itself to big-event programs, a trend already apparent in 
conventional network programming. Revenue 
projections for stv are based on only very small 
saturation (e.g. five per cent) of all households. 
However, since these systems are limited to the top U.S. 
cities with great numbers of households and don't 
require the huge capital costs of cable, this level of 
saturation is viable. It does indicate that no 
overwhelming demand is anticipated and that fragmen- 
tation of audiences will be slight. If pay-per-channel 
techniques are employed, content will be similar to the 
existing cable model. If pay-per-program billing is used, 
it is probable that more diverse content will be offered 
with a tendency toward extremes, i.e. greater differences 
from conventional television fare (spectaculars, heavy- 
weight fights, soft porn, drive-in type movies for the 
curious who prefer viewing in the privacy of their 
home). 

On cable there are only three pay-per-program 
systems - Network One in Toronto, Telecinema of 
Columbus (Ohio) and a small system in Allentown, 
Pennsylvania. 

Telecinema of Columbus offers four channels of pay 
programs simultaneously which permits a huge choice 
of their "menu". They have experimented widely and 
consider a program profitable if only two to three per 
cent of their pay subscribers purchase the program. 
Their actual costs of exhibiting a program are very low 
since they are only obligated to the program supplier for 
a percentage of the gross revenues attributable to the 



program. Revenue from a minority appeal program can 
be considered revenue that they might not have 
otherwise received. The crucial economics depend on 
the average utilization per subscriber and Telecinema of 
Columbus has been consistently drawing larger gross 
earnings per subscriber than the pay-per-channel $8.00 
with a 25 per cent penetration rate of pay subscribers to 
their cable subscribers. The print-out for a day is shown 
as Table 4-6, and indicates the programming results; on 
that day (November 6. 1976) selections offered consti- 
tuted about half the programs available in the month. 
A typically, no sports program was shown, but until the 
current pay-TV restrictions, this was a minor source of 
revenue and consumer interest. 

In studying the Telecinema results over a long period, 
certain observations can be made. 

i) The more cultural events, e.g. American Film 
Theatre, have fared poorly although The Iceman 
Cometh did well. 

ii) Sports programming does badly. Best is the 
National Basketball Association. TTie American 
Football League does very badly. The National Hockey 
League is weak. 

iii) Diversity of content does produce more revenue 
per subscriber but this is mostly attributable to soft 
porn (the F channel) which is not found on pay-per- 
channel. 

iv) Contrary to the operator's opinion that soft porn 
would quickly lose its appeal, it has consistently held up 
and brings in 30 to 40 per cent of the program revenue. 
There is very definitely a great consumer demand for 
this content. Although Telecinema has yet to run an X- 
rated film, it does use foreign films that could be classed 
X. However, they carefully screen all Channel F film 
and edit out anything that smacks of sadism, violence, 
or "perversion". While strong on nudity, the films are 
rather light-hearted and harmless. The operators have 
yet to have a complaint and they attribute this to their 
caution, plus the fact that the consumer must physically 
turn on the key to his home converter and actually pay 
to see the specific program. (Customers who say they 
want the pay service but not the F channel are oflTered a 
trap to remove it at no charge. They invariably decline 
to put the operator to the trouble.) 

V) Telecinema has yet to find the answer to appealing 
to the more affluent home which is not a heavy 
television user but could be a high-paying customer for 
some specialized content, e.g. tennis skills. International 
Chess Matches. 

vi) Although the capability exists for selling more 
diversified content, the subscriber seems unimpressed 
and generally buys the expected. 

vii) There is some evidence that less than block-buster 
films may do relatively better than the "biggies" in this 
environment than in theatrical distribution. While it 
takes a Jaws to get large numbers of people out their 
homes, there are many films people would like to see 
without the inconvenience of going to a theatre. 



148 



Table 4-6 

Telecinema Daily Revenue Reports 

Market: Columbus 

Date: 1 1 '06/ 76 (Saturday) 

Billing thresholds: Max. missing = 25. Max. bad data = 10. Max. no dev. = 25. % Durations = 20. 

Min. abs. time= 15. Max. viewing starts = 4. Max. billings/sub. = 3. Time allowed/scan = 7. 



l.Ni 


imber of Subscribers: 






4970 




100.0% of 1 






2. Number of Active Subscribers: 






811 




16.3% of 1 


100.0% of 2 


3. Number of Active Subscribers Billed: 




518 




10.4% of 1 


63.9% of 2 


4. Number of Billmg Opportunities: 






1650 




100.0% of 4 






5. Number of Billing Ops Billed: 






671 




40.7% of 4 






Char 


1 Show Movie Title 


Price 


Billings 


Revenue 


Cost 




Income 




ID 


Time 




N Sub 


$ 


/Sub 


$ 


Rylty 


S 


Sub 


C 


1000 599 Little Peoples 


0.75 


1 0.0002 


0.75 


0.0002 


0.26 


35.09^ 


0.49 


0.0001 


C 


1100 600 Little Peoples 


0.75 


2 0.0004 


1.50 


0.0003 


0.52 


35.0% 


0.98 


0.0002 


C 


1200 599 Little Peoples 


0.75 


1 0.0002 


0.75 


0.0002 


0.26 


35.0% 


0.49 


0.0001 


C 


1300 600 Little Peoples 


0.75 


5 0.0010 


3.75 


0.0008 


1.31 


35.0% 


2.44 


0.0005 


C 


1400 599 Little Peoples 


0.75 


2 0.0004 


1.50 


0.0003 


0.52 


35.0% 


0.98 


0.0002 


C 


1500 602 Mandingo 


3.00 


1 0.0002 


3.00 


0.0006 


1.20 


40.0% 


1.80 0.0004 


C 


1730 59S Lenny 


3.25 


3 0.0006 


9.75 


0.0020 


3.90 


40.0% 


5.85 


0.0012 


C 


1930 608 Mi;ht Moves 


2.75 


6 0.0012 


16.50 


0.0033 


4.13 


25.0% 


12.37 


0.0025 


C 


2130 591 The Klansman 


2.75 


16 0.0032 


44.00 


0.0089 


11.00 


25.0% 


33.00 0.0066 


C 


2330 602 Mandingo 


3.00 


25 0.0050 


75.00 


0.0151 


30.00 


40.0% 


45.00 0,0091 


c 


2600 580 fi/aj;/;? Saddles 


3.00 


9 0.0018 


27.00 


0.0054 


6.75 


25.0% 


20.25 


0.0041 


c 


2800 597 The Klansman 


2.75 


5 0.0010 


13.75 


0.0028 


3.44 


25.0% 


10.31 


0.0021 


Totals for Channel C 




76 0.0153 


197.25 


0.0397 


63.30 


32.1% 


133.95 


0.0270 


D 


1000 590 Freebie and TH 


3.00 


3 0.0006 


9.00 


0.0013 


2.25 


25.0% 


6.75 


0.0014 


D 


1200 596 Killer Force 


3.25 


3 0.0006 


9.75 


0.0020 


2.44 


25.0% 


7.31 


0.0015 


D 


1400 601 Longest Yard 


3.00 


8 0.0016 


24.00 


0.0048 


6.00 


25.0% 


18.00 


0.0036 


D 


1600 604 Sashville 


3.00 


4 0.0008 


12.00 


0.0024 


6.00 


50.0% 


6.00 


0.0012 


D 


1900 596 Killer Force 


3.25 


14 0.0028 


45.50 


0.0092 


11.38 


25.0% 


34.12 


0.0089 


D 


2100 590 Freehie and TH 


3.00 


33 0.0066 


99.00 


0.0199 


24.75 


25.0% 


74.25 


0.0149 


D 


2300 6\0 Open Season 


2.75 


25 0.0050 


68.75 


0.0138 


17.19 


25.0% 


51.56 


0.0104 


D 


2500 601 Longest Yard 


3.00 


15 0.0030 


45.00 


0.0091 


11.25 


25.0% 


33.75 


0.0068 


D 


2700 596 Killer Force 


3.25 


13 0.0026 


42.25 


0.0085 


10.56 


25.0% 


31.69 


0.0064 


Iota 


Is for Channel D 




118 0.0237 


355.25 


0.0715 


91.81 


25.8% 


263.44 0.0530 


E 


1100 5%5 Diamonds 


2.75 


3 0.0006 


8.25 


0.0017 


2.06 


25.0% 


6.19 


0.0012 


E 


1300 587 Don'i Cry With 


2.50 


5 0.0010 


12.50 


0.0025 


4.38 


35.0% 


8.13 


0.0016 


E 


1500 609 Old Dracula 


2.75 


13 0.0026 


35.75 


0.0072 


8.94 


25.0% 


26.81 


0.0054 


E 


1630 592 Funny Lady 


3.25 


4 0.0003 


13.00 


0.0026 


5.20 


40.0% 


7.80 


0.0016 


E 


1900 617 Winterhawk 


3.00 


29 0.0058 


87.00 


0.0175 


21.75 


25.0% 


65.25 


0.0131 


E 


2100 5n Exorcist 


3.50 


62 0.0125 


217.00 


0.0437 


97.65 


45.0% 


1 19.35 


0.0240 


E 


2300 579 Black Christmas 


2.75 


55 0.01 II 


151.25 


0.0304 


37.81 


25.0% 


113.44 


0.0228 


E 


2500 609 Old Dracula 


2.75 


17 0.0034 


46.75 


0.0094 


11.69 


25.0% 


35.06 


0.0071 


E 


2630 588 fvorrw/ 


3.50 


14 0.0028 


49.00 


0.0099 


22.05 


45.0% 


26.95 


0.0054 


E 


2830 617 Winterhawk 


3.00 


9 0.0018 


27.00 


0.0054 


6.75 


25.0% 


20.25 


0.0041 


Tota 


Is for Channel F. 




211 0.0425 


647.50 


0.1305 


218.28 


33.7% 


429.22 


0.0864 



149 



Chai 


n Show Movie Title 


Price 


Billings 


Revenue 


Cost 


Income 


ID 


Time 




N /Sub 


$ 


/Sub 


$ 


Ryltv 


$ 


/Sub 


F 


1000 6\A Teenage Hitch 


2.75 


7 0.0014 


19.25 


0.0039 




3.85 20.0% 


15.40 


0.0031 


F 


1130 612 Sometime Sweet 


3.25 


13 0.0026 


42.25 


0.0085 




8.45 20.0% 


33.80 


0.0088 


F 


1300 605 Naughtv Coeds 


3.00 


17 0.0034 


51.00 


0.0103 




10.20 20.0% 


40.80 


0.0082 


F 


1430 6\3 Starlet' 


2.75 


16 0.0032 


44.00 


0.0089 




7.92 18.0% 


36.08 


0.0073 


F 


1600 614 Teenage Hitch 


2.75 


11 0.0022 


30.25 


0.0061 




6.05 20.0% 


24.20 


0.0049 


F 


1730 612 Sometime Sweet 


3.25 


9 0.0018 


29.25 


0.0059 




5.85 20.0% 


23.40 


0.0047 


F 


1900 589 Five Kittens 


2.75 


20 0.0040 


55.00 


0.0111 




11.00 20.0% 


44.00 


0.0069 


F 


2030 605 Naughty Coeds 


3.00 


24 0.0048 


72.00 


0.0145 




14.40 20.0% 


57.60 


0.0016 


F 


2200 (>\1 Sometime Sweet 


3.25 


28 0.0056 


91.00 


0.0183 




18.20 20.0% 


72.80 


0.0146 


F 


2330 586 DirtY Lovers 


3.00 


34 0.0068 


102.00 


0.0205 




18.36 18.0% 


83.64 


0.0168 


F 


2500 611 Ramrodder 


3.00 


39 0.0078 


117.00 


0.0235 




21.06 18.0% 


95.94 


0.0193 


F 


2630 612 Sometime Sweet 


3.25 


32 0.0064 


104.00 


0.0209 




20.80 20.0% 


83.20 


0.0167 


F 


2800 bn Starlet 


2.75 


16 0.0032 


44.00 


0.0089 




7.92 18.0% 


36.08 


0.0073 


Totals for Channel F 




266 0.0535 


801.00 


0.1612 


154.06 19.2% 


646.94 


0.1302 


Grai 


id Totals 




671 0.1350 


2001.00 


0.4026 


527.45 26.4% 


1473.55 


0.2965 


Telecinema Daily Revenue Reports 


















Movie Movie Title 


Pdcr Rtng Dur Billings 




Revenue 


Income 




ID 






N 


/Sub 




S 


/Sub 


$ 


/Sub 


6 


579 Black Christmas 


WB 11 


103 55 


0.0111 




151.25 


0.0304 


113.44 


0.0228 


7 


580 Blazing Saddles 


WB 11 


95 9 


0.0018 




27.00 


0.0054 


20.25 


0.0041 


12 


585 Diamonds 


MAT 01 


110 3 


0.0006 




8.25 


0.0017 


6.19 


0.0012 


13 


586 Dirty Lovers 


JER 02 


80 34 


0.0068 




102.00 


0.0205 


83.64 


0.0168 


14 


587 Don't Crv With 




















Mouth Full 


NEW 17 


115 5 


0.0010 




12.50 


0.0025 


8.13 


0.0016 


15 


588 Exorcist 


WB 01 


120 76 


0.0153 




266.00 


0.0535 


146.30 


0.0294 


16 


589 Five Kittens 


EVR 02 


82 20 


0.0040 




55.00 


0.0111 


44.00 


0.0069 


17 


590 Freebie and The Bean 


WB 11 


120 36 


0.0072 




108.00 


0.0217 


81.00 


0.0163 


19 


592 Funny Lady 


COL 11 


138 4 


0.0008 




13.00 


0.0026 


7.80 


0.0016 


23 


596 Killer Force 


AIP 01 


105 30 


0.0060 




97.50 


0.0196 


73.12 


0.0147 


24 


597 The Klansman 


PAR 11 


111 21 


0.0042 




57.75 


0.0116 


43.31 


0.0067 


25 


598 Lenin 


UA 11 


104 3 


0.0006 




9.75 


0.0020 


5.85 


0.0012 


26 


599 Little Peoples Package # 1 


HBO 04 


57 4 


0.0008 




3.00 


0.0006 


1.95 


0.0004 


27 


600 Little Peoples Package #2 


' HBO 04 


56 7 


0.0014 




5.25 


0.0011 


3.41 


0.0007 


29 


601 Longest Yard 


PAR 11 


120 23 


0.0043 




69.00 


0.0139 


51.75 


0.0104 


30 


602 Mandingo 


PAR 11 


130 26 


0.0052 




78.00 


0.0157 


46.80 


0.0094 


32 


604 Nashville 


PAR 11 


157 4 


0.0008 




12.00 


0.0024 


6.00 


0.0012 


33 


605 Naughty Coeds 


HEM 02 


88 41 


0.0082 




123.00 


0.0247 


98.40 


0.0198 


36 


608 Night Moves 


WB 11 


102 6 


0.0012 




16.50 


0.0033 


12.37 


0.0025 


37 


609 Old Dracula 


AIP 01 


89 30 


0.0060 




82.50 


0.0166 


61.87 


0.0124 


38 


6 1 Open Season 


COL 11 


105 25 


0.0050 




68.75 


0.0138 


51.56 


0.0104 


39 


6 1 1 Ramrodder 


JER 02 


87 39 


0.0078 




117.00 


0.0235 


95.94 


0.0193 


40 


612 Sometime Sweet Susan 


EVR 02 


73 82 


0.0165 




266.50 


0.0536 


213.20 


0.0429 


41 


6X1, Starlet 


JER 02 


90 32 


0.0064 




88.00 


0.0177 


72.16 


0.0145 


42 


614 Teenage Hitchhikers 


EVR 12 


76 18 


0.0036 




49.50 


0.0100 


39.80 


0.0080 


45 


617 Winterhawk 


AIP 01 


98 38 


0.0076 




1 14.00 


0.0229 


85.50 


0.0172 




Totals 




671 


0.1350 




2001.0C 


1 0.4026 


1473.55 


0.2965 



viii) The revenue is rather widely spread throughout 
the offerings and not all associated with a few programs. 

ix) The customer seems to budget his monthly 
purchases and maintains about the same level of 
expenditure each month. 

x) The distribution of utilization by subscribers is 



highly skewed, i.e. a minority of subscribers purchase a 
great deal and a majority much less - similar to general 
television viewing habits. 

xi) Disconnects are a problem. The assumption that 
pay-per-prograni would not experience disconnects, 
since the customer only purchased what he wanted and 



150 



wouldn't feel he was buying something he didn't want, 
is not substantiated. 

xii) The average consumer buys two to three events 
per month. 

Much more detailed information than is presented 
here has been supplied, but Telecinema of Columbus is 
experiencing severe security problems. They are 
dependent on a converter technology and this has 
proven unsafe. Although the computerized return feed 
metering system seems excellent, because of their 
security problems ihey are unsure of the accuracy of 
their more specific findings and wish to keep them 
unpublished. 

What emerges from all this is that pay-per-program is 
probably not the answer tt) all programming ills. It does 
provide more choice but at present, by being limited to 
cable subscribers and in the absence of truly different 
programs being available to the new medium, it appears 
not to be very substantially different from pay-per- 
channel cable. It must be stated that there are so many 
variables in the marketing, promotion, pricing, sched- 
uling and servicing of pay-TV that are untested, that it 
is premature to draw many conclusions. 

The other two systems mentioned (Network One and 
Allentown) were not studied in such detail. Network 
One has a very efficient and inexpensive technology 
dependent on using a cable exclusively for a single pay 
cable. The system is not regulated because it is closed 
circuit and with present costs of cabling, it is limited to 
areas of very high density (i.e. condominiums, since 
rental high-rises have a much less stable occupancy). 
Saturation has reached 85 per cent of 1,400 units. 
Programming consists of usually two or three features 
shown each day and repeated from a monthly spectrum 
of six to seven features. The late show on many 
evenings is X-rated, e.g. Emmanuelle. Consumption 
averages about 2.5 films a month. With a cheaper cable 
technology, such an unregulated system could easily 
service single family dwellings. 

The small cable system in Allentown. Pennsylvania, 
does use X-rated film. The pay-per-channel system in 
Ann Arbor, Michigan, has also shown Emmanuelle, but 
this was an exception to the rule. The assumption again 
is that soft porn sells and sells very well. Discussions 
with hotel cable operators also confirm this assumption. 

5. Pa\T\' ill Canadd 

There been much publicity about the "inevitable" intro- 
duction of pay-TV into Canada. Submissions were 
requested by October I, 1976 by the c rk and it appears 
public hearings will be held in the late spring. The 
objectives for pay-TV have been summarized by the 
Hon. Jeanne Sauve, Minister of Communications, 
speaking on June 2, 1976 to the Canadian Cable 
Television Association ((< tx) as follows: 

First: It musl provide a range of programming which does nol 
duplicate that now offered by broadcasters and must do so 
without siphoning programs from the broadcasting system. 



The continued federal regulation of the broadcasting system, 
including the regulation of pay television, is a crucial factor in 
the coherent and orderly provision of program services to the 
entire Canadian viewing public. 

Second: It must ensure the production ofhigh-qualily 
Canadian programs that Canadians will watch. 

Third: It must ensure that programs are produced in Canada 
for international sale. 

One hundred and five submissions have been received. 
Many are simply letters and suggestions. The following 
Tables 4-7 and 4-8 attempt to analyze all the major 
briefs and indicate where the proposers stand on certain 
issues. 

What became apparent this past summer was that the 
creative, artistic and production elements in this 
country were adamant in demonstrating their large 
stake in the pay-TV enterprise. They claimed that they 
would rather do without any pay-TV than have a 
structure which was primarily dependent on U.S. 
content and which centred control in the delivery 
system, regardless of how much money might be appor- 
tioned to subsidize Canadian production. 

In analyzing the major submissions it is pointless to 
count, as it were, voles. Clearly the cable operators and 
the broadcasters suggest a structure very similar to the 
U.S. pay-per-channel pay cable approach with the 
addition of alloting 15 to 20 per cent of gross revenue to 
Canadian production as the price of admission to a 
licence. While it might produce significant money for 
Canadian programs, there is no inherent positive 
dynamic approach to develop them, promote them, or 
even use them at all. This approach really suggests the 
proliferation of more and possibly less desirable U.S. 
content in Canada, yet still leaves the industry at the 
mercy of the subscriber attitudes noted before which 
reject anything unusual or unconventional. 

Other proposals suggest greater producer or even 
government control. Demands for all-Canadian content 
seem economically non-viable - a sad comment on the 
development of our production and program resources. 
.Many submissions favour the pay-per-program concept 
as fairer to both the consumer and the producer and 
more likely to diversify content. 

The Council of Canadian Filmmakers' proposal 
suggests a universal channel, i.e. cable subscription 
rare's would be raised $3.00 and four movies a month 
would be supplied - two Canadian and two U.S. This 
would obviate any expense for security or metering, but 
the extent of disconnects imposed on the cable 
operators is difficult to estimate. This approach might 
be only moderately disruptive to Canadian broad- 
casting, least likely to massively increase U.S. content in 
Canada and most productive of money to Canadian 
programs. Whether the public, the press, or the politi- 
cians would tolerate it is most questionable. 



151 



Table 4-7 



Summary of Selected Pay-TV Proposals 



Organization 

Association of Canadian 
Television and Radio Artists 

American Federation of 
Musicians 

Canadian Actors' Equity 
Association 

Canadian Labour Congress 

Canadian Association of 
Broadcasters 



Canadian Broadcasting 
Corporation 



Canadian Broadcasting 
League 



Canadian Cable Television 
Association 



Canadian Conference of 

the Arts 

Canadian Film and Television 
Association 



Canadian Film Development 
Corporation 



Channel 79. Ltd. 
(Moses Znaimer) 



Ownership/Contol/Implementation Billing 

Pay-TV decision should be delaved for further Pav-per-program 
study, public hearings should be held. 



Pay-TV network privately owned, controlled Pay-per-channel 

by broadcasters with public and cable partici- with pav-per-program 

pation. Introduction of pay-Television should objective. 
be postponed. 

Request crtc public hearings. Suggests a pav- Vague — inference 
Television network with directors from public andsupports pay-per-channel 

and private sectors or cbc-;. a minority and cbc-2. "sounds like 

interest programming cable channel. universal pay-Television". 



Universal subscription 

of cable users. 



CBL does not want pay-Television. If inevitable, 
they want "test-bed" for study of impact. 
Control by independent public agency 
owning all pay-Television hardware, 
commissioning, purchasing all programming, 
running the network, distributing signal nation- 
ally. Profits to go to additional programs and 
Media Development Fund. 

Fully endorses ptn proposal, wishes implemen- Pay-per-channel 
tation without delay of privately funded 
national organization commissioning, acquiring, 
distributing English and French pay-Television 
programs. 50*^ ownership held by cable companies. 

Does not advocate immediate implementation. No model proposed. 
Recommends pay -Television be under firm 
regulatory control, asks for public hearings, debate. 

Careful but definite implementation of pay- Pay-per-program 

Television. Suggest federally-chartered licensed 
monopoly, profit oriented with broad share-holder 
base as ownership system. Hardware and 
software operations must be separate. 



CFDC believes it is the most suitable government 
agency to administer pay-Television and the 
levy fund. Advocates delay of decision until 
public hearings held. 

Advocates a two-tiered system: 

1. Exhibitors who would distribute pav- 
Television (Exhibitcos). 

2. Profit motivated public or private regional 
networks (Programcos). 

Exhibitcos to get 45% of revenue, networks 55%. 



Not stated. 

(ccFvi claims similarity 

to PTN model). 

Not stated. 



152 



SiiiniiHirv iif Selccli'J fuvli Pniposals 



Organiz;i[ion 

Consumers' Association of 
Canada 



Council of Canadian 
Filmmakers 



Directors Guild of Canada 

Global Television 
CanWest Broadcasting 
Western Approaches 

PTN — Pay Television 
Network Proposal 



Quebec Cable and Film 
Production Companies 



Western Coded Television 
Ltd. 



Ownership/Control/Implementation 

CAC believes implementation at this time to be 
premature but recognizes long-run inevitability. 
Prefers establishment by a non-governmental 
body with public interest concerns. Concerned 
with federal 'provincial jurisdiction over 
communications, regulation of cable. 

Want federal crown corporation, "Canadian 
Pay Television Network" to administer 
purchase, invest in programming, should 
have two language concerns, regional offices. 



Want a public hearing to discuss pay-Television 
feasibility re hardware. 

Propose two models: 
Model I. Postulates "target television." 
Model 2. Global has a back-up model which 
it will test for two to three years. 

Wants no delay in implementation. Monopoly 
cable network to handle program purchasing, 
marketing, distribution. Will inviie 
non-cable interests to board of directors. 
(One-third to one-half). 

Recommend delay in implementation for im- 
proved hardware. Private corporation agency 
51% owned, controlled bv cable interests 
which would produce, co-produce, purchase, 
distribute programming; "adequate partners" 
credible to government and production used 
in administration. 

Suggest crown corporation not profit motivated 
to acquire, distribute and administer, wants 
two language networks, does not wish a delay. 



Billing 

Estimate 30% penetration 
of cable subscribers at 
additional $8.00/month. 



Universal mandatory cable 
system, increased cable rates 
$3.00 month subscriber. 
After five vears shift 
to pay-per-program. 

Pay-per-program, 
each to cost $3. 

Model I. Pay-per-channel 
universal delivery. 
Model 2. Pay-per-channel. 

Single pay-per-channel 
eventually moving to 
pay-per-program multi-channel 
in distant future. 



50c/per month/per subscriber 
for Quebec cable subscribers. 
I.e. universal mandatory 
delivery evolving to 
pay-per-program. 



Pa\-per-program 
each box $125.00. 



Table 4-8 

Summary of Selected Pav-TV Proposals 



Organization 

Association of Canadian 
Television and Radio 
Artists 

American Federation of 
Musicians 

Canadian Actors" Equity 
Association 

Canadian Labour Congress 



Delivery System 

Common carrier without 
responsibility for 
programming. 



Programming 

Should be non-profit public 
agency to acquire, commission, 
and schedule programming paid 
for by funds collected by 
common carrier. 



% of Revenue to 
Canadian Production 



153 



Siinmuiiy of Selected Pen -TV Proposals 



Organization 

Canadian Association 
of Broadcasters 



Canadian Broadcasting 
Corporation 



Canadian Broadcasting 
League 



Canadian Cable 
Television Association 



Canadian Conference 
of the Arts 



Canadian Film and 
Television Association 



Delivery System 

Cable in metro areas, 
off-air LHF in others, 
satellite transmission 
as alternative. 



Cable (assumes 25-30% 
penetration). 



National signal dis- 
tribution via satellite 
with local cable 
delivery mandatory, 
over-the-air pay-TV 
where no cable exists. 
Cable channels to be 
leased with no control 
over them by cable 
companies. Concerned 
that commitment to 
technology now may be 
premature due to possible 
obsolescence. 



Existing cable plant 
facilities. 



No model proposed. 



Cable common carriers. 
different in future. 



Programming 

Pay-TV network should acquire, 
produce, commission programs 
not already shown on commercial 
television. Must meet Canadian con- 
tent requirements (50%) eventually 
leading to 100%, No mention of 
in-house production. No paid 
advertising. 

While admitting need for minority 
interest programs, cbc denies 
viability of such programming 
in subscriber-supported television. 
Seems to assume inevitability of 
U,S, model, i.e. sports, feature 
films. 

Must offer significantly 
different programs than 
commercial television to avoid 
siphoning, should be national 
in character, serve French and 
English. Want Canadian content 
quota established by crtc: 30% 
first year to 75% fifth vear. 



% of Revenue to 
Canadian Production 

Major portion of 
profits. 



crTA rejects Canadian content 
quota, test-bed experiment of 
different technologies, cable, 
broadcasters" consortium. New 
corporation should provide high 
quality programs distinct from 
commercial television. Pay-TV 
must be based on American model 

Questions definition of Canadian 
production, Pay-TV begun with 
American model would not 
facilitate rehabituation to 
Canadian viewing. 

Argues for 100% Canadian 
programming catering to 
cultural interests. 



75%ofprofittoall 
broadcasters for Can. 
production, 25% of 
profit to CFDC, 28,5% 
of gross revenue to 
Canadian producer. 

21% of gross 
revenue in first 
year, rising later. 
Media Development 
fund revenues 
derived from tax 
on cable incomes, 
$ 1 ,00 per subscriber 
per channel plus 
pay-TV network 
profits, 60% to 
commercial television; 20% 
tOCFDC: 10%; to 
commercial cable 
channel; 10% to 
grants for film, 
television production. 



"Whole point of 
pay-TV (after profits) 
is to recover funds 
for production," 



An important 
concern, no figures. 



154 



Summary of Selected Fay-TV Proposals 



Organization 

Canadian Film Develop- 
ment Corporation 



Channel 79. Ltd. 
(Moses Znaimer) 



Consumers' Association 
of Canada 



Council of Canadian 
Filmakers 



Directors Guild of 
Canada 



Global Television 
CanWest Broadcasting 
Western Approaches 



PIN — Pay Television 
Network Proposal 



Delivery System 

Not stated (ccFvt 
claims similarity to 
PTN model). 



Cable or off-air. 



Programming 

Advocates quota for Canadian 
content based on a "flexible" 
definition. Program production 
to be conducted by private 
sector. ("Fcx: assumes American 
pay-TV' model of programming. 

Suggests regional networks might 
reduce Toronto-centred program- 
ming. Expressed concern with 
structure rather than program- 
ming. 



Common carrier should 
distribute signal 
for 15% of revenue. 



Satellite with micro- 
wave connection and 
possibly MDs and bicycled 
tape for remote areas. 
Cable and ofl"-air to 
allow universal access. 

Privately-owned cable 
hardware, national 
distribution by 
cassette. 



Model 1. Mandatory cable 
delivery, no need for 
security. 

Model 2. Global will 
transmit scrambled 
signals to the head ends 
of cable companies in 
the Ottawa-Windsor 
corridor. Non-cable 
subscribers can use 
antenna, decoder. 

Cable for local distri- 
bution: bicycled video- 
tape for national 
distribution. 



Recognizes necessity of high 
quality Canadian programs, 
rejects American model of mass 
interest programs. Model 
provides for bulk of funds to 
be channelled into Canadian 
production. 

Canadian content not less than 
60%, should attempt 80%. French. 
English programs should be 
offered with dubbing and 
frequent repeats catering to 
mass and minority programs. 

Advocate HEP-Television (Happiness- 
for- Everyone television), propose 
a yearly schedule of 144 features, 
each repeated eight limes. A 
preview channel and audience voting 
may cater to mass appeal: CBC 
suggested as minority interest 
programmer. 

Model 1. Advocated 100% Cana- 
dian content minority interest pro- 
gramming, reject .American model. 
Specialized programs to be 
produced. 

Model 2. Mass appeal program- 
ming. 



9c of Revenue to 
Canadian Production 

Levy of pay -TV gross 
revenue not less than 
15% to Canadian 
producers. 



From each dollar of gross 
revenue, networks get 55c. 
45c of that goes to content, 
Canadian producers get 
a full 45c for their programs; 
25c goes to U.S. productions, 
and 20c to Canadian Film 
Re-Investment Fund. 

Suggest 85% of 
revenue should go 
to create Canadian- 
based software 
industry. 



Over 50% of gross 
revenue spent on 
Canadian production. 



Cable owner to get 
50% of revenue, 
producer of show 50%. 



Model 1. $1,00 month 
increase for cable to 
go directly to pro- 
gramming, i.e. 85% to 
Canadian programming. 
Model 2. Not Slated. 



Will depend on U.S. feature films. 
Proposal offers 5% Canadian 
content rising to 18% in 1982. 
Promises Francophone arm. 



15% to Canadian 
production. 25% to 
foreign production. 



155 



Summarv of Selected Fa\-T\ Proposals 



Organization 

Quebec Cable and Film 
Production Companies 



Western Coded 
Television Ltd. 



Delivery System 

Local delivery via micro- 
wave, bicycled cassette: 
nationally by satellite; 
initially by existing 
cable. 

Off-air "box" to permit 
access to non-cable 

subscribers (ccfni says 
too high a commitment 
to technology). 



Programming 

Production done for cable secon- 
darily for pay-TV. Agency will 
concentrate on new types of pro- 
grams complementing ptn with 
regional interest programming. 

Canadian content quota should 
start low, reach SOS?^. 



fc of Revenue to 
Canadian Production 

Recognize need for 
using pay-TV revenue 
for Canadian 
production 

45% to production, 
full 45% to Canadian 
producers on dollars 
earned. 20% of money 
earned by foreign 
product to go to 
Canadian production 
fund. 



6. Summary 

Cable has changed the broadcast viewing habits of the 
Canadian populace. Increasingly U.S. programs are 
being watched, particularlv by our younger people, at 
the expense of our own shows. If not at present, then 
ultimately, this will have an impact on advertising 
revenues accruing to Canadian stations and Canadian 
programs. Since U.S. television content, particularly 
among the most-watched shows, is high in violence, it 
follows that cable, while weakening our own broad- 
casting system, raises the level of violent content in the 
home. The solutions seem to lie in the larger issue of 
restructuring our overall broadcasting system. Sanctions 
and moral suasion might influence our Canadian broad- 
casters to cut back on violence, but it would place them 
at an even further competitive disadvantage and hardly 
affect half the homes in Canada. 

Pay-TV IS still too immature to have developed its 
own unique content. It is still too small and dependent 
on existing sources in film and television. For the 
present it must seek content not immediately available 
on television, i.e. newer movies or inexpensive events. 
These are strong indications of economic pressure to 
provide the kind of films unsuitable for broadcast - sex 
and/or possibly violence - to maintain a difference 
from freely available conventional television. 

Noll, Peck, and McGowan, in their 1973 study 
Economic Aspects of Television Regulation, with 
reference to the Hartford experiment, observe: 

Having low regard for conventional fare, television reformers 
would find little solace in a proliferation of the programming 
tht spark.s their criticisms. But all subscription television (siv) 
experiments and the past e.xperience of cable systems indicate 
that the greatest unsatisfied demand is, in fact, for more of the 
same.-'' 



156 



Chapter Five 

The State of the Art - Newer Technologies 



A. Iiilnuliiclion 

This chapter is deviued to discussions of the uses of the 
newer technologies applicable to the visual mass media 
with some thoughts on their possible consequences to 
society in terms of the dissemination of violent content. 
In the past, the exploitation of mass media technologies 
has been through traditional industrial methods. There- 
fore, we can expect that the greatest determinants of the 
ultimate application of these newer technologies will be 
those economic forces of profit-making. Until now, in 
many instances, the public has funded much of the 
original theoretical and initial prototype work. Unfortu- 
nately it has been our practice so often, in the absence 
of a strong political will and because of the huge sums 
of money required, to leave most of the final develop- 
mental risk and exploitation to the marketplace, e.g. 
Telsat, optic fibre, and in a sense, broadcasting. The 
regulatory processes come after the fact. 

Many futurists and social philosophers, such as 
Weiner. Bagdikian. Fniller. lllich. McLuhan. Toffler. 
Kahn, et cetera, have attempted to predict the conse- 
quences of the electronic revolution in terms of 
processes abstracted and somewhat removed from the 
existing or soon-to-exist devices with their content 
capabilities and the economic rationales for their devel- 
opment. This theorizing is useful and stimulating but for 
the near term the application of the newer technologies 
will be based on the profit (not prophet) motive. The 
decision on which hardware will be developed and 
exploited first, and the needs its software are presumed 
to serve will be dependent to the largest extent on 
current investments, current kinds and libraries of 
content, and current indications of consumer demand. 
Novel ways of combining technologies may well be by- 
passed, socially useful applications may be neglected, 
unless some industry clearly sees a future pay-otfor the 
state determines what standards must be met. What will 
be possible and what will be profitable are two different 
questions. The answers to both could be very wrong but 
the second answer will have much more to do with what 
is actually done. 

An example might be helpful. lo the consumer the 
videodisc technology could offer a wide variety of 



exciting possibilities for entertainment and self- 
enrichment, particularly if coupled with other develop- 
ments. However, it would appear that the strongest 
thrust will be to mass market a player which will 
generate new revenue from old feature films and 
develop a new market for future Hollywood product. 
That the player can do other things may be a merchan- 
dising plus, but to have a capability to record - a highly 
desirable feature to most consumers - obviously would 
not serve the investor's interests. Even a profit on the 
player may be foregone if securing the mass market 
means to monopolize the software production, 
manufacturing, distribution and sales. (Kodak doesn't 
make its money on selling cameras.) An incompatible 
machine, although of greater technical sophistication 
and versatility but dependent on selling at a profit, 
stands little chance in this marketplace. The consumer 
is then "locked in" to his investment and the content 
that goes with it. It is with this rather more pragmatic 
viewpoint in mind that this chapter is written. 

Most of the newer technologies discussed below are 
far advanced from the theoretical stage and the actual 
mass marketing is simply awaiting the last refinements 
of an operational technology and or the economically 
opportune circumstances. Although this is not a 
technical paper, it was thought useful to bring together 
some fairly detailed information on the whole topic. 
synthesize it. and present it along with some inferences 
on how visual content may be aflected in the future and 
what bearing this may have on the topic of violence in 
the communications industries. Summaries of these 
implications will be found at the conclusion of each of 
the three main subsections as well as at the end of the 
chapter. 

In order to organize this chapter, each o{' these newer 
technologies has been categorized into one of three 
basic functions in a communication system - the 
storage, dethen and e.xhihirion of information. The term 
information is used in a very broad sense and refers to 
the rate or amount of changes encoded into an 
electrical, photographic, or radio frequency system 
necessary to store, transport, and exhibit the desired 
communication whether it be television programs. 



157 



movies, computer data, facsimile, telephone calls, 
remote sensing, electronic mail, et cetera. The chapter 
then will be divided into: 

Storage Svsiems - those media capable of retaining 
information which may be accessed later, usually repli- 
cated, and sometimes re-recorded on for further storage. 
A current example would be a videotape on which is 
recorded (stored) a television program. The tape can be 
played back (accessed), dubbed to other tapes (repli- 
cated), or a new program can be substituted on the tape 
(re-recorded). With respect to programs (television and 
film) the main storage technologies in use are magnetic 
tape and photographic film. The future includes many 
refinements in these and new technologies more akin to 
computer memories or audio records. The topics dealt 
with later include 

- new videotape formats 

- videodiscs 

- digital storage devices 

- video games 

Delivery Systems - the major developments in this 
area involve the ability to transport large amounts of 
information, possibly over long distances, and particu- 
larly into (and out oO the home. Conventional 
television broadcasting is limited to sending a few 
channels of television programs in a given community 
into homes within range of the transmitters. Present 
cable can increase the number of channels but has 
limited range and in order to provide service on the 
additional channels it may have to be supplied with 
distant signals by means of a delivery system such as 
microwave. Both broadcast and cable are at this time 
essentially one-way systems and permit no immediate 
feedback or point-to-point communication. Some of the 
newer delivery systems which will increase greatly the 
amount of information to (and from) the home are 
nearing readiness for e.xploitation. Many of the 
problems concerned with implementation are economic 
ones pertaining to the cost of the technology, the need 
for mass production to bring the costs down, the cost of 
rendering obsolescent the existing plant, the cost of the 
content or services that could be supplied, and the 
consumers" willingness to pav the necessary costs. 
Topics included in this section are: 

- two-way cable 

- optic fibre 

- satellites and direct broadcast satellite (dbs) 

- multi-point distribution systems (mds) 

- laser 

Exhibition - Some efi"orts are being made at 
improving the means of exhibiting the information, 
particularl) with respect to television sets. The conven- 
tional 19 to 26 inch screen and poor sound system 
impose some modifications on the type or style of the 
content. Changing the size or quality of the picture is 
fundamentally limited by the present standards, e.g. 525 
lines 30 times a second. National Television Standards 
Committee (ntsc ), the North American standard. A 



drastic change would render obsolete all the existing 
television sets, but short of this some changes are antici- 
pated: 

- big screens 

- stereo sound 

- holography (in the distant future) 

It is only for purposes of organization that devices 
involving the functions of storage, distribution, and 
exhibition have been so compartmentalized. They 
interact in profound ways and a development in one 
■'area" may well revise advances in another. For a long 
time progress in the two-way cable which would permit 
home terminals to interact with a large time-shared 
central computer for programmed learning, problem 
solving, et cetera, was heralded. However, the 
spectacular revolution in semi-conductors and now 
large scale integration (lsi) leading to ever cheaper 
microprocessors and mini-computers may well place 
these capabilities almost entirely in the home. If we 
were to combine these technologies with something 
along the lines of the videodisc, then the need for two- 
way broadband cable (and some of its revenue sources) 
becomes that much more remote. Conversely, the possi- 
bility of say, viewing horse races and conducting off- 
track betting from the home, even having the betting 
transactions instantly transferred to and from the bank, 
could precipitate two-way cable long betbre more 
socially desirable functions ever could. 

B. Storage Systems 

1. New Videotape Formats 

Ever since the development of the video tape recorder 
by the Ampex Corporation, a large market has been 
anticipated for selling home playback and recording 
units. It followed that there would be a large market for 
prerecorded material distributed direct to the home on 
tape - content of the consumers' choice with the 
convenience of playback at anytime. This was the 
natural corollary to the developments in audio tape of 
cassette and eight track tapes. Originally broadcast 
standard playback required two inch tape moving at 15 
inches per second in order to get the required fidelity of 
picture. Such a system was prohibitively expensive in 
the mass market, but in time a number of companies 
developed smaller standards such as one inch, three- 
quarter inch, and half-inch systems. In time, the quality 
improved and with the advent of colour television, 
which required le.ss resolution in the picture, these 
narrower and slower moving tapes became acceptable 
in many applications. Eventually, the Sony Corporation 
made the breakthrough with the U-matic three-quarter 
inch system. This device, howe\er, was more applicable 
to schools and institutions than for use in the home 
since the cost of a half-hour tape was about $30.00. 
Previously, two major systems had attempted to invade 
the home market - the rc a f\ r and the Cartravision. 
but both of these were dropped in 1973, having cost the 
developers about $50 million each. 



158 



In a recent surprise move the Sony Corporation 
revealed the Betamax, which is similar to the earher U- 
matic but uses a half-inch tape which brings the cost of 
a one-hour tape cassette down to about $16.00. 

The introduction of the Betamax is causing great 
concern among those companies planning to bring out 
videodisc technology in the near future. The 
record/playback unit costs $1,300 in the United States, 
somewhat more in Canada, and ofi'crs the convenience 
of recording programs from one channel while another 
is being watched or while the set is unattended. Sony 
claims that all the Betamax does is to serve as a "time 
shift machine", which allows viewers to watch programs 
they would otherwise miss. Sales seem to be running at 
5,000 units a month and were estimated at 20,000 to 
25,000 homes in November 1976. Sony projects that by 
next October there will be 60,000 to 70,000 homes 
equipped with the new device. 

As yet Sony has distributed no preprogrammed tapes 
but it has expressed interest in aligning itself with 
production and distribution firms. Although Sony 
denies it, most experts suggest that the cost of a cassette 
plus the cost of the program content will well exceed 
that of programs distributed by videodisc. It is 
significant that Sony underestimated the amount of tape 
each Betamax customer might buy. Instead of the 
assumed six to eight tapes, it has been more like twelve 
to eighteen and whenever a special event such as Gone 
with the Wind is about to be telecast, dealer's shelves 
have been emptied of tape, mca Inc. (one of the major 
videodisc contenders), through its film-making subsid- 
iary. Universal Citv Studios Inc., in joint action with 
Walt Disney Productions, has filed suit to stop Sony 
Corporaticm of America from selling the Betamax 
machine. They contend that this capability of taping 
programs leads to violation of copyright protection and 
provides viewers with access to film libraries of 
"inestimable" value. (This parallels the controversy 
when the first audio cassette recorders were introduced, 
which was resolved in the U.S. with the Sound 
Recording Act ( 1972) making it a criminal offense to 
copy music for sale or distribution. Hiiwever, the Act 
allows individuals to copy a friend's album or to record 
from the radio tor use in the home.) \u \ has indicated 
that if the Betamax succeeds it might preclude the 
development of the videodisc industry. While the 
Betamax can record programs and with an optional 
camera allow home taping, the disc systems would 
appear to be considerably cheaper in both the cost of 
the players and the recorded programming. The impli- 
cations to content in the home if the Betamax becomes 
widely distributed will be similar to some of the implica- 
tions of the videodisc technology discussed next. 

2. Videodiscs 

a) Videodisc Systems 

No one is certain just what impact the videodisc will 
have on the current mass media or on society at large. It 



does seem clear, however, that the impact will be very 
great over the long run. In an unregulated form it is quite 
possible that the videodisc could completely subvert the 
intent of the Broadcasting Act and make the present 
discussions over cable and pav-TV obsolete. 

There are or have been at least 25 videodisc systems, 
all but one of which were developed since 1970. In 1936 
78 rpm discs providing six minutes a side for playback 
on a mechanical television system were actually sold in 
Selfridge's Department Store in London for seven shill- 
ings; this lasted four months. 

At the present there seem to be about five or six 
systems, none of them compatible, in final development 
and imminently about to be marketed. In fact, one of 
them - the Telefunken/Decca System or TeD - went on 
sale in West Germany in March 1976 and has now 
expanded sales to Austria, Switzerland and Sweden but 
has met with slight success. 

The various systems can be divided into electro-me- 
chanical and photo-electric. The former involves a 
stylus in contact with a groove on a disc similar to audio 
records; however, the disc revolves at much greater 
speeds and the groove is much finer. TeD and the rc a 
Selectavision fall into this category. The photo-electric 
systems are based on a light source (usually a laser) 
reflected from or passed through the disc. e.g. the 
\t(\ Philips Disco-Vision, the Thomson-csF system and 
the i/o Metrics system. 

i)TeD 

While TeD has the distinction of being the first video- 
disc to reach the consumer markets, sales so far have 
been disappointing but also reflect the general economic 
climate in Europe. Widely regarded as TeD's major 
drawback is the playing time of the disc. This is limited 
to ten minutes which is partly due to the size of the disc 
(about 8' 4 inches) to allow direct pressing into 
magazines or newspapers (the disc itself is only a tenth 
of a millimeter thick) - a possibility already experi- 
mented with by one German publisher although it is not 
expected to be exploited commercially until at least 
1979. Another drawback is that the program master 
must be film, preferably 35 mm, and is transferred to 
disc at only 25 times real time without the possibility of 
monitoring the mastering process by visual display. 

.•Mthough software is being steadily developed, the 
TeD system was released with a library of only 50 titles 
and has now only increased this number to about I(X). 
On the whole, this programming is dreadfully unimagi- 
native and primarily consists of travelogues or how-to- 
do-it demonstrations. In Germany, .Austna and Switz- 
erland eflbrts are directed toward the mass-consumer 
market. In Sweden, they are aimed at the educational 
and institutional trade. The machine sells for $650.00 
and sales have been estimated at 2.000 units from 6,000 
in distribution and 15,000 produced. To get around the 
ten-minutes time limitation Telefunken has developed 
and recenth demonstrated a new player changer which 



159 



with a four-second interval between discs, permits two 
hours of continuous programming. 

TeD is a truly mechanical system. A floppy plastic 
disc, containing a hill-and-dale cut spiral groove, rotates 
at 1,500 rpm on an air cushion generated by the disc's 
rotation. A diamond stylus in a piezo-electric pickup 
functions as a transducer, converting variations in 
pressure between the disc and the head into an 
electronic signal. The disc surface is therefore sensitive 
and the disc, along with its cover, is fed directly into the 
machine which removes the record for play and returns 
it to the cover so that it is never touched by human 
hands. Since a stylus makes contact with the disc, some 
wear is involved and the life of the record is assumed to 
be about 1,000 plays. The stylus also is subject to wear 
and must be exchanged from time to time. Discs with 
content sell for about $10.00. A true still frame is not 
possible but very short sequences can be continuously 
repeated. "Browsmg" is possible. 

ii) Philips/MCA Disco-Vision 

Possibly the leading contender in the videodisc is the 
yet-to-be-released Philips/MCA Disco-Vision. This 
merger of the Dutch Philips Company and Hollywood's 
MCA Inc. combined the electronic work of both (which 
had been very similar in principle) with vica's access to 
an 1 1,000 title library of feature films through its 
subsidiary Universal Films, mca has also made a 
number of agreements for non-exclusive use with a 
number of the other major studios. Philips brings to the 
partnership not only electronic expertise but a domestic 
consumer marketing capability (Magnavox) perhaps 
not even matched by rca, Decca, or Telefunken among 
the other contenders. 

Although previously announced to appear in time for 
the Christmas trade in 1976, most estimates suggest that 
it won't be marketed until late 1977. Philips/MCA has 
announced to the surprise of the industry that they will 
pursue the institutional and educational market first. It 
had been anticipated that for most of these systems the 
mass market would have to be sought first. The cost of 
mastering the software for limited production runs 
would raise the cost per disc greatly for such a small 
market. Conversely a mass market would not be 
responsive unless there was considerable programming 
available in wide distribution. Since Disco-Vision incor- 
porates a very sophisticated informational storage and 
retrieval system, it may succeed in the insliutional area 
first. The metallized, reflecting disc ~ rigid or floppy - 
contains a continuous spiral track composed of minute 
pits. A laser beam directed onto the track is reflected 
back along the light path in varying intensity due to the 
pits. A beam splinter directs the returned light through a 
photo-diode detector for signal processing. For ntsc the 
disc rotates at 1800 rpm and at 1500 rpm for pal and 
SECAM (European Standards). Each revolution produces 
one frame and each frame can carry a numerical 
identification permitting any one of the 54,000 frames to 
be recalled and frozen simply by pressing the relevant 



number out on a keyboard. On the basis of equating a 
single frame to half a page of printed material each disc 
which ordinarily contains 30 minutes of television 
content could contain 27,000 pages of printed material - 
or roughly the Encyclopedia Britannica on one disc. 
Slow motion, reverse action and "browsing" are also 
possible. 

Philips says the helium neon laser assembly will cost 
around $10.00 in mass production (although there is 
some speculation that there are problems in this area) 
and that players will cost $400 to $500 at launch date, 
with discs at $2.00 to $10.00 each retail, depending on 
programming. (It is assumed that most of the videodisc 
systems will be introduced into the market at less than 
normal retail mark-up in order to facilitate their mass 
distribution.) 

Recording is in real time and replication is by 
pressing in polyvinylchloride (pvc) from stampers made 
from the master. After pressing, the discs are coated 
with metal and a transparent protective layer. Dust or 
dirt which gathers on the disc surface does not aff"ect 
quality as it is out of focus. Since nothing comes in 
contact with the disc there is no wear involved. Discs 
should have a perpetual life. 

iii) RCA Selectavision 

The RCA Selectavision is the other main contender in 
the videodiscs' sweepstakes. The system is designed 
with one function in mind - to provide home enter- 
tainment and information - and is argued to be cheaper 
than the Philips' mca system. It differs considerably. 

First, the rca system employs a grooved disc with 
positive stylus tracking, which eliminates the need for 
expensive servo loops. Second, the stylus used is 
cheaper to manufacture than a helium neon laser 
assembly. In the player, only this pick-up is a non- 
standard component. 

The 12-inch disc is made of pvc which, after pressing, 
is coated with metal and dielectric layers. Information is 
recorded as slots of varying width and spacing in the 
bottom of the groove. Signals are derived from the 
capacitance between the metal on the disc and at the tip 
of the stylus. In a process very similar to audio record 
manufacture (except for the original master) a total of 
125,000 copies can be made from one original master. 
Recording speed has gradually been increased and has 
reached real time. 

One drawback of the system is that the slower speed - 
450 rpm, required to maintain relative stability - means 
that four frames are recorded per revolution, elimi- 
nating the possibility of freeze frame capability. Playing 
time per slide is 30 minutes and both sides can be used. 

rca has another problem: it has no software of its 
own. This is being overcome in two ways: by buying up 
old movies and self-improvement films and by trying to 
influence potential licensees. Of all the major companies 
RCA has been the most secretive and the least ready to 
give demonstrations except to the trade and then only 
by invitation, rca's videodiscs are expected to last in 



160 



excess of 500 plays, while stylus life is 300 to 500 hours 
at which time a new snap-on stylus can be obtained for 
$10.00. 

iv) Thomson-csF Optical Videodisc System 

The Thomson-c SI is a French development and is in 
many ways very similar to the Philips/\i( a Disco-Vi- 
sion. It uses a laser optical system but rather than 
reflecting the light from the surface of the disc, the 
Thom,son-< sf has utilized a transparent disc and shines 
the light through it. The Thomson player has the same 
freeze-frame and random access capabilities as the 
Philips \t( A - each 360 degree track is "numbered" so 
any picture can be located within two seconds. 

Figures supplied by Thomson indicate that the discs 
will cost between $2.00 to $10.00 depending on quantity 
and programming. However, even in units as small as 
20 copies the Thomson compares favourably with U- 
matic cassettes. Thomson's marketing plans are 
unknown but it is assumed that they may be first 
directed at the institutional and educational areas. 
Although the system is quite similar to Philips/vit a they 
are not compatible. 

v) i/o Metrics 

Generally regarded as an outsider. i''o Metrics is well 
advanced and is still in active development. It is a laser 
based system employing a helium neon laser source to 
record FM analogue signals in the form of a spiral track 
on a 12 inch disc. 

The disc is made of standard photographic materials 
and is processed in ordinary jphotographic chemicals - 
a process claimed to require minimal expertise - with a 
total dry-to-dry time often minutes. Replication is by 
photographic conact printing. F.ach disc can contain up 
to 50,000 frames. For data applications, discrete 
concentric circular tracks can be recorded rather than a 
continuous spiral track. The company claims that the 
photographic system is "a natural choice" for small runs 
(less than 1000 copies). Replay is achieved with a 
miniature 13-watt incandescent light bulb shining 
through the disc with the beam focused by a microscope 
objective and a movable mirror onto an avalanche 
photo-diode video detector. 

The laser recording unit to make the discs is expected 
to cost less than S30.000, the player under $200.00 and 
the discs about 20 cents each plus program costs. A 
retail price of S5.00 per disc has been quoted, i 'o 
Metrics has also experimented with bonding discs into 
sandwiches with a carefully configured optical system 
permitting refocusing from one layer to another. Four 
layers is regarded as a reasonable practical limit, 
offering about 90 minutes playing time from one 
package. .Apart from domestic entertainment and 
general information the applications envisaged include 
audio recording, computer peripheral storage retrieval 
and graphic data storage. 

vi) Magnetic Disc Recording (MDR) 

MDR, although a relatively limited application, is 
potentially a possible major system insofar as it is the 



only imminent system with a user-record capability. 
V1DR is somewhat analogous to a video cassette since the 
recordings can be made in real time which is a distinct 
advantage over some other approaches, but it suffers 
from the drawback that all copies must be made 
individually even though multiple slave copying is 
clearly feasible. The disc originally rotated at 78 rpm 
but was modified to double that speed - 156 rpm. TTie 
12-inch disc itself is rigid and coated with a fine-grain 
magnetic substance jointly developed with basf. The 
outer area of the disc surface is impressed with a 
continuous spiral groove which guides a stylus on the 
record arm. This guides the magnetic record pickup 
head which is in contact with the smooth disc surface. 
Disc life is claimed to be in excess of 300 plays. Prices 
quoted for the impending launch in France is about 
$700.00 for the player and about $9.00 for blank discs. 

vii) Other Systems 

Of the remaining 19 or so other systems it is 
conceivable that one may turn out to be a real winner. 
However, the economics involved are far more compli- 
cated than simply arriving at a viable technology. It 
appears that only huge companies with the capability of 
providing the nght mix of programming and marketing 
and the ability to sustain heavy investments and early 
initial losses will have anv chance of succeeding. It is 
anticipated that some of the major systems may merge 
to the extent of having a compatible technology. .At the 
moment the majors appear to be going it alone. 
Although it is felt that maybe more than one technology 
could find a viable market, it is obvious that not all of 
them can succeed. (Dr. John Locke. University of 
Toronto, has developed a laser videodisc technology 
with both record and playback capabilities. TTie cost of 
the unit - $2000 to $3000'- probably precludes it from 
the consumer market for a long time.) 

b) Videodisc Economics 

Previous attempts to launch a home video player for 
the mass market have been failures for one or more of 
three crucial reasons - reliability, price and program- 
ming. Premature launches of various film or tape 
cassette systems are estimated to have cost the industry 
$250,000,000 so far. 

By far the greatest attention has been focused on the 
potential of videodiscs in the mass consumer market. 
Fxperts believe that there is going to be a completely 
new form of entertainment tailored to television discs. 
However, no one knows just what this will be. What is 
agreed is that penetration of a videodisc system must 
reach between three to ten per cent of a market like the 
U.S. in order for the system to support original 
programming. This would mean that there would have 
to be between half a million and a million and a half 
videodisc players in distribution. The consensus o( 
projections appears that with a late 1977 introduction, it 
would be between three to five years before the one 
million figure is reached. This penetration then would 



161 



probably be much slower than television itself or colour 
sets or high fidehty equipment. Taking into account the 
cost of producing a program, the mastering and dupli- 
cation, and royalties (15 per cent approximately) a 60- 
minute program produced in 50.000 copies would sell in 
the area of $25.00 to $40.00. The 50,000 copies relates to 
five per cent of one million players sold. It is obvious 
then that in the initial years of videodisc the 
programming will be highly constrained to relatively 
few topics that must be widely sold since the initial base 
of players in use may well be slight. 

c) Programming 

At the First International Videodisc Programming 
Conference held in New York. November 17 to 20, 
1976, a number of experts gathered to attempt to assess 
what direction this new technology would take in 
programming. It was agreed that technology does create 
its own art form and much was made of the changes 
that took place in audio content with the transition 
from the 78 rpm record to the 33 1/3 long-play record. 
Roland Gelatt, the music critic, pointed out that the LP 
first followed the repertoire of the concert hall but the 
changed economics allowed small companies and new 
repertoire to emerge. This led to new kinds of music to 
be heard, e.g. baroque, Telleman, Vivaldi and Mahler. 
Operas by the minor masters gained recognition and 
this led even to the change of the repertoires of the 
existing opera companies. If there were a lesson here it 
was that there was no lesson; there was a new audience 
for new contents. Film authority Hollis Alpert noted 
that he was "surprised to realize that his own music 
taste was profoundly affected by technology." Critic 
Judith Crist questioned "how many times are we going 
to look at a movie?" She anticipated that movies are 
going to become longer and slower (Barry Lyndon) and 
that the B movie no longer exists. She categorized 
movies as either exploitation or major event. "In 
between goes to television." The consensus was that the 
medium would develop new messages but that it would 
be some time in findingjust what these are. One panelist 
strongly felt that the successful launching of videodisc 
would depend on some "gimmick". Much as Betamax 
excited the imagination through its convenience of 
storing and delaying programs for replay at conven- 
ience, videodisc would have to find something stronger 
than simply the ability to play back movies. 

Suggestions in this area of "gimmick" included the 
little discussed topic of pornography. It was conceded 
that pornography would probably be an important but 
not overwhelming aspect to the content of videodisc. A 
number felt that the videodisc offered the responsible 
parent the opportunity to provide high-quality 
children's programming in the context of the home 
providing enrichment for children, i.e. the classics, the 
fairy tales and suitable adventure dramas. It was also 
noted that children particularly like repetition of 
favorite stories and the videodisc would permit this. 



(Some agreed but felt that the videodisc player might 
become a babysitter allowing the parent a clearer 
conscience.) Due to the tremendous information storage 
capability of the videodisc, a wide variety of applica- 
tions for in-home learning and extremely sophisticated 
video games involving highly intricate branching 
techniques would be possible. It was noted that a multi- 
media learning system only becomes practical when the 
conventional media, computer instructions, and control 
signals can be combined in a conveniently stored, easily 
delivered package, that is also cost effective when many 
copies are made and distributed. The videodisc is an 
ideal form for combining the media and the computer 
instructions. Videodiscs not only store conventional 
video and audio they can be thought of as broadband 
electronic storage devices capable of playing back extra 
channels of audio, computer codes, or whatever, along 
with standard ntsc video and audio. Laser scan video- 
discs have the added advantage of displaying still 
frames for any length of time, and random access of 
both still and motion sequences. 

Because of the above educational applications, the 
United States Navy conducted the most extensive 
research into the possible future application of video- 
disc. The Navy Personnel Research and Development 
Center (nprdc) asked a group of experts to predict some 
of the effects of videodisc technology looking forward 
ten years after videodiscs had first become available to 
the public. To predict the diffusion of videodiscs in all 
Its markets and applications, the researchers at nprdc 
turned to the "Delphi" research technique developed 
two decades ago by the Rand Corporation. The Delphi 
technique allows "the systematic solicitation and collab- 
oration of expert opinion." The study involved a panel 
of 150 experts who were polled in such a way that 
specious persuasion and bandwagonning could be 
eliminated. The panel of experts predicted: 

i) The videodisc will allow individuals to pursue a 
college degree in their homes. 

ii) Attendance at paid cultural events (dance, drama, 
music, films) will not suffer due to the videodisc but 
there may be reductions in cinema attendance for 
pornographic films. 

iii) At least one home in 20 will own videodisc 
players; in 1987 up to one-fourth of all television sets 
built for home use will have videodisc players built into 
them, and videodisc "changers" will be available for 
those willing to pay for them. 

iv) There will be standardization through market- 
place elimination of inferior systems, although the panel 
could not agree on a prediction that a single system will 
be universal by 1987. 

V) Videodisc "periodicals" will combine motion and 
still visuals; these periodicals along with the availability 
of "non-perishable" performances in record stores will 
probably increase the broadcasting of "now" actualities 
by stations and networks. 

vi) The panel was close to consensus that four- 



162 



channel (quadraphonic) sound would be standard for 
videodiscs. 

vii) It was improbable that small audience television 
programming (symphonies, ballet, opera) would be 
eliminated by comparable disc programming, at least by 
1987. 

viii) The panel agreed that, in general, short playing 
albums (single discs, perhaps with longer playing times) 
will out-sell long playing albums. 

ix) Give-away videodiscs will advertise movies and 
describe political candidates. 

x) The panel thought that "maybe" Sunday 
newspapers will contain give-away videodisc reports of 
the previous week's news and sports events. 

xi) The need to combine audio, slillframe, and 
random access capabilities in instructional videodiscs 
will change educational media production techniques. 

xii) College courses designed for home study will also 
be used in secondary schools by advanced students. 

xiii) Videodisc "packages" will be available for 
college credit courses. Non-credit educational pursuits, 
such as "how-to" discs, will be popular. 

xiv) Advances in videotape technology will not 
provide competition for the videodisc. 

xv) The current marketing concept of ownership of 
existing motion picture titles on videodisc will be less 
popular with the consumer than mass communications, 
e.g. volatile periodical video magazine concepts. 

xvi) Given the availability by the end of 1977 of at 
least one videodisc system and a sufficient quantity and 
diversity of programs, then in ten years time the public 
will have two million player units. 

xvii) Given roughly equal programming resources 
between a video tape system and a videodisc system, a 
consumer would be more inclined to buy the disc 
system if it costs one-third as much as the tape system. 
but not if the disc system costs two-thirds or more of the 
tape system (Videodisc versus Betamax). 

xviii) There will be significant shifts from centralized 
education to decentralized education. 

xix) Various audio visual media forms, i.e. motion 
(film or tape), stills (graphics, film strips, et cetera) 
consolidated on videodisc, will have made television 
presentations by 1987 the rule rather than the exception. 

To date, much speculation has centred on films as 
videodisc programming material. Both systems 
(Philips \i(\ and lu a) envisage a high degree of 
consumer interest in movies - current and near current 
releases, and collectors' items like Casablanca. 
Consumer studies indicate some interest in this area. 
The question of how many times would you want to 
watch even your favourite movie is usually answered by 
"how many times do sou read a book, but you go out 
and buy it". It is certain that at the outset both disc 
systems will depend hea\ liv on movies, a commodity 
thai VK\. which owns L'niversal Pictures, a movie 
library and a record company, is well equipped to 
supply. M( A already has a brochure out showing full- 



colour album covers for such movies as Airport, The 
Day of the Jackal. Thoroughly Modern Millie and The 
Sling. It predicts that Jaw.s will probably be on discs. It 
should be noted that a number of the major movie 
companies were very reluctant at first to release content 
to pay-TV in the expectation of the videodisc. Universal 
has only recently made product available for pay-TV. 
RCA claims it has rights to over 1,000 titles but states 
that it will start with 250, with the ability to add rapidly 
as the market dictates. (An rca analysis of top-ten 
grossing films annually 1965 to 1975 indicates that 
although Universal produced 12 per cent of total 
pictures during that period it had only 5 per cent of top- 
ten features. This counteracts the mc a claims to the 
value of their library of 1 1,000 titles.) 

MCA has indicated that beyond its own programming 
resources, it has acquired and will continue to acquire 
programming from outside sources. Warner Bros., to 
cite one example, will make its feature films available on 
viCA Disco-Vision videodiscs. Included will be such 
titles as The Exorcist. What's Up Doc. The Immigrants. 
and Blazing Saddles. Twentieth Century Fox has done 
likewise and includes Towering Inferno. Paramount 
Pictures has also indicated willingness to be released on 
mca's Disco-Vision. However, these arrangements are 
not exclusive. 

In attempting to ascertain consumer interest, an rca 
survey showed that feature movies led all categories, 
followed by drama, opera, music, then children's 
programs. Program surveys didn't mention pornog- 
raphy as such, but did include X-rated films. They 
weren't at the top of the list, but there was good interest 
in them. Some X feature films but no hard core porn 
may go out with rca label. Both systems. Disco-Vision 
and Selectavision, initially and later will oflTer a broad 
variety of material beyond feature film. Generally 
considered are children's programs, sports and special- 
interest features such as cultural programs and "how- 
to" features. The first of the mca cultural disc series, 
already produced, is Museum Without Halls, which 
comprises 1 1 films made under the supervison of Bntish 
art historian, Douglas Cooper, mca's catalogue also 
includes material drawn from its Universal subsidiary, 
including such curious ideas as The Best of Dragnet. The 
Best of Kojak. and (believe it or not) Raymond Burr 
Speaks to the luivmen on Your Legal Rights, rca points 
out that "[m( \] must buv films from others, too. mc\ 
may be a theoretical two percent of the feature library 
[rca] would like to get." It appears that in the past year 
rca has negotiated licensing deals which include 100 
pre- 1 974 feature films from Twentieth Century Fox. and 
200 features from the mom library. The rc^ videodisc 
catalogue has such classic films as Singing In the Rain. 
Citizen Kane, and The Magnificent Amhersons. and such 
non-feature material as the David Bowie Rock 
Performance, cartoons, opera, ballet and instructional 
programs on golf, cooking, needlepoint and home 
repair. 



163 



The great problem in the videodisc industry is antici- 
pating just what kind of programming will open up the 
mass market to the sale of videodisc players. The 
leading contender. Phiiips/MCA Disco- Vision, in 
recently announcing a first attack on the educational 
and institutional market may w^ell be going counter to 
what MCA Inc. wants. The industry is caught in a 
"chicken and egg" problem. To provide low cost discs 
there must be a mass market of plavers, and to get a 
mass market of players there must be a low-cost disc. 
The replication cost of the discs is very low, but the cost 
of "mastering" is high, which means that many copies 
must be produced to achieve a profit. When used an an 
information storage and retrieval system, the high cost 
for a single disc in the institutional market may not be 
critical. However, to companies holding a stockpile of 
feature films and having a motion picture production 
capability, the mass market is certainly the objective. 

3. Digital Storage Devices 

The whole computer/data processing industry is based 
on a different system of encoding, processing and distri- 
bution of information known as digital. The television, 
radio and telephone systems work in analogous techni- 
ques. Transfers from one system to the other are quite 
possible but each has its own efficiencies. Over the last 
two decades revolutionary changes have taken place in 
the digital field and the costs of handling memory and 
computations have subsequently diminished. Technol- 
ogies which at one time were only available at great cost 
to huge institutions are becoming cheaply available in 
the home. e.g. pocket calculators of ever increasing 
sophistication and ever declining cost. 

The development of integrated circuits, including 
large scale integration noted above, has permitted this 
revolution in the handling of information. Parallel 
capabilities in the storage and accessing of memory are 
just now being developed. At present, high speed access 
and large scale storage are found associated with 
computer complexes. Referencing a tape or disc is slow 
work for a high speed computer. Most of the "wired 
world" concepts include remote terminals in the home 
for accessing large computers. This implies the 
broadband (cable or optic fibre) connection to the 
computer, point-to-point service, and time sharing with 
the computer. It may well be that long before a truly 
switched two-way broadband network could be opera- 
tional, microprocessors and mini-computers using 
additional information storage and retrieval from 
devices similar to videodisc or other current develop- 
ments could well obviate the need for this application of 
two-way cable. 

A new device on the market stores a few seconds of 
audio information in a computer-like memory, and 
playback does not depend on a moving tape or disc but 
is held in a solid state electronic code within the device, 
similar to a calculator holding numbers. The message 
can be broadcast as frequently as called for, changed by 



entering new information, and doesn't need to be "re- 
cued" to the beginning but can be started instantly at 
any time (random access). Although a long way from 
handling the information necessary for a video program 
which simulates motion, intermediary technologies, e.g. 
charge coupled devices (ccd) and combinations with 
other e.\isting technologies may well move the huge 
central library functions associated with two-way cable 
concepts into the home. 

Early indications of this decentralizing shift are 
taking place in industry, ibm, the leader in the $20 
billion computer industry and basically a manufacturer 
of large leased computer installations is moving into 
"distributed data processing" where users process data 
locally on mini-computer networks. These computers 
are sold for $4,400.00 to $6,200.00 plus costs of main 
memory capacities. At present the market for 
distributed processing amounts to four per cent of the 
computer industry. Experts predict that by 1980 it will 
amount to 17 per cent or $5.6 billion. 

4. Video Games 

The current fad of video games, although likely to fade 
quickly in its present state, is indicative of the early 
capabilities of large scale integration (isi) applied to 
home entertainment. Supply could not meet demand, 
and it is estimated that in 1976 3.5 million games worth 
$229 million were sold. Most experts predict a short 
product life for these first efforts, but newer approaches 
indicate much greater versatility and sophistication. 
Changeable "programs" and subscription services have 
entered the market. Combined with videodisc or video 
cassette and even built right into the television set, the 
possibilities for programmed learning and complex 
games involving branching structures (wherein the next 
set of circumstances are dependent on the previous 
responses chosen by the learner or player) become 
virtually endless. 

Again a trend is apparent to decentralize the 
technology and move away from dependence on a 
sophisticated broadband delivery system. 

."i. Summary 

Until recently, the communication delivery system has 
been regarded as the answer to pro\ iding greater 
options and diversity in the content available in the 
home. In the case of conventional cable the addition of 
ever more channels and particularly channels of 
consumer supported programs (pay-TV, either by 
monthly subscription of with a per-program fee) has 
appeared to be the next step. To further broaden the 
mix and individualize service, various schemes of 
accessing libraries and large computers have been 
forecast which depend on various techniques of sending 
signals upstream from the home to a central source, or 
even from home-to-home. However, this section on 
storage of information has strongly indicated that devel- 
opments in videodisc and other technologies may well 



164 



remove a lot of the consumer demand which would 
assist in the financmg of a true "wired world" concept. 
Although the technological capabilities exist to design 
"ideal" systems, the evolution of the various compo- 
nents which are dependent on very immediate and 
direct economic returns will certamly preclude such 
logical integrations. There has been little evidence in the 
last four decades in Canada of any coherent and 
comprehensive planning in this regard, and invariably 
the technologies develop in some diffuse pattern, 
become well entrenched, and are then subjected to 
regulatory pressures. 

Much of the above space has been devoted to video- 
disc. Although a number of problems are still plaguing 
this technology, it appears certam that its North 
American mass marketing will begin in late 1977 or 
early 1978. E.xpert projections vary but the consensus is 
that videodiscs are commg, that they will proliferate 
much more slowly than did television or ladio, but that 
one million sets in five years, and two million sets in ten 
years is not an overly optimistic projection. The 
videodisc birth and maturation of the industry could be 
far more dramatic. The programmmg in the mass 
market will initially reflect content similar to current 
television and movie fare with the notable addition of 
pornography. Videodisc players may have considerable 
initial appeal to the more affluent family whose 
members are light television consumers and movie- 
goers but who wish to determine when and what they 
watch. Future programming will likely move toward 
interactive programs, topical digests and subscnption 
services much more akin to current print practices. 
F.ventualU the programs could be coupled with adver- 
tising in much the same way as magazines are today; 
ultimately programs may be given away for the adver- 
tising contained in them. The players are relatively 
expensive ($400 - $500) but once in wide distribution 
the disc manufacturing costs can be in the order of a 
few pennies each. A new type of "direct mail" can be 
foreseen. 

With respect to violence, there is little that can be 
forecast about videodisc. That some of the player's 
market-ability will be assisted by consumer access to 
exploitational film in the privacy of the home is noted. 
The major companies are not stressing this, nor are they 
likely to. They may even have restraints on what is 
deemed suitable for reproduction by their processes - 
processes over which they have considerable control. In 
the case of the tape machine (Betamax) there is no such 
manufacturer control. .-Xnyime can dub a tape, and 
already many X-rated films are available in 3 4-inch 
format suitable for play on home tape machines. 

Some of the significance of these new developments 
lies in their effect on e.xisting systems. It has been noted 
that the motion picture industry continually must seek 
content sufficiently diU'erenl from conventional 
televisu>n to warrant attendance at the box office. 
Television, although subjected to many internal and 



external constraints, continually moves to areas of more 
and more "relevance" and explicitness. The competition 
for the limited leisure time and dollar of the consumer 
following the introduction of videodisc may cau.se 
further adjustments. At the outset, videodiscs would 
appear to be predicated on current program styles and 
formats. Thus the discretion of viewing a wide range of 
content from G to X is left much more to the individual 
home. Some thought will have to be given to whether or 
not videodiscs of feature films and programs should 
involve licensing by the Theatres Branch. 

In the case of our broadcasting system the unregu- 
lated videodisc means further fragmentation of 
audience and proliferation of U.S. content. Possibly it 
would be damaging in areas of public information and 
education - areas in which, heretofore, there has been 
some Canadian autonomy. 

C. Delivery Systems 

1. Iiuroduction 

At present the technologies for delivering a television 
program to the home consist of over-the-air broadcast 
or cable. Microwaves (higher frequencies than standard 
broadcast) are used to transport the television signals 
from tower to tower, or to space and back for long- 
distance transportation. In terms of the amount of in- 
formation carried, one television channel equals about 
1.000 simultaneous telephone calls. So far, broadcast 
and cable as applied to television, are one-way and non- 
switched systems - everybody gets the same thing from 
a single source, and can neither originate into the 
system, nor receive specific content which is not simul- 
taneously available to somebodv else using similar 
receiving equipment. In the case of broadcasting, there 
is such a scarcity of channels that it would be impos- 
sible to have other than a few licensed stations 
operating. In the case of cable, certain return feed 
options are possible and are generally referred to as 
two-way cable. 

2. Two- Way Cable 

Reference has been made earlier to Telecinema of 
Columbus which has the ability to measure which 
channel a particular set is tuned to and for how long. 
This depends on a small transmitter at each set broad- 
casting this particular information "upstream" to a 
computer at the cable head end. Only small subsections 
of the cable s\ stem can be opened up and measured at 
one lime, since many of the little transmitters must use 
the same frequency and all of them broadcasting at 
once would be indecipherable at the present state of the 
art. .\bout 12 practical experiments of various 
techniques of two-wav cable are being conducted at this 
time. None presuppose fully two-way point-to-point 
switched systems analogous to the telephone system, 
since this required an immense switching apparatus and 
virtually a cable or pair of cables linking e\ery home to 
an exchange. All the experiments attempt to do is 



165 



provide some return from the home to the centra! head 
end and possibly some determination of which home 
gets which program. 

The basic appHcation of cable in North America has 
been to fill a number of channels with programs so that 
the home viewer can select from among these channels 
using the tuner on the television set and possibly an 
additional converter. RedifiTusion Ltd.. in England, uses 
a different concept. A pair of wires (not a cable and 
therefore only applicable to relatively short distances 
with a single channel) goes from the head end to each 
home. One wire carries a television program, the other 
sends information to the head end to indicate which 
program should be sent. When the subscriber dials a 
program, he is not tuning to a particular channel, but 
instructing the head end which program to send. This 
increases greatly the number of program choices that 
could be made available, but limits the home to a single 
choice at one time unless another pair of wires is 
available for a second television set. This approach 
begins to approximate the telephone system in that 
separate wires connect each home to a central office: 
however it is a long way from permitting home-to-home 
broadband contact. The earlier notions of the "wired 
world" were seriously debunked when the actual costs 
were projected. Billions have been spent in capital 
investment in the lowband telephone system. To 
convert this into an equivalent broadband system would 
take many limes that amount. However, some partial 
approaches are being pursued. Many depend on 
broadband one way and a limited response upstream in 
the cable or via telephone. The kinds of services these 
capabilities will be developed for will be directly related 
to the economic return expected. 

In the foreseeable future the first stage of devel- 
opment will be associated with being able to identify 
these particular homes. .Anonymous responses may be 
interesting for popularity contests and public opinion 
polls, but no obvious way to make money from this 
service is apparent. (This statement may be proven false 
- the author admits lacking some newer highly 
confidential information.) Once a home can be 
identified (similarly to computer identification of 
subscriber-dialed long distance calls), an array of possi- 
bilities is presented, e.g. pay-per-program television, 
meter reading, remote sensing for fire and theft, 
emergency calling for police, fire, and ambulance by 
simply pressing one of three buttons, in-home shopping 
and gambling, and information retrieval. If this element 
of impulse purchasing is combined with direct access to 
bank accounts by means of electronic transfer of funds, 
then so much more potent will be the economic pressure 
to exploit the service. However, for television in-home 
selling, the same kinds of legislation which governs 
door-to-door sales (specifying cooling off periods, et 
cetera) are clearly indicated. Apparently the Bank Act 
would have to be amended before electronic funds 
transfer would be legal and at this point the debate 



would commence. With respect to plebiscites or 
national referenda, amendments to the Election Act 
would be required. It seems unlikely that representative 
government would be permitted to change drastically. 
That the technology for instantaneous voting is possible 
is hardly synonymous with an economic return. (Letter 
ballots have served this purpose in the past in some 
applications, but never for political elections). 

The implications for violence in the content of two- 
way cable centres in the wider choices and increased 
U.S. content possible in pay-TV and pay-per-program 
systems. These have been dealt within Chapter 4. 
Should two-way cable later evolve to include library 
access, then the initial form will be one person or group 
requesting and paying for a program when they want it. 
If specifically addressed or scrambled they would have 
exclusive use. Whether it is exclusive or not, the 
requestor pays for the privilege of determining the 
content and the time it will be shown for which a fee 
could be charged. Neither violence nor much of an 
economic return seems likely. 

In six Quebec municipalities centred on St. Hubert, 
the Videotron Company has provided eight channels of 
library service at no charge on a "first-come, first- 
served" basis. It does allow the community to 
"eavesdrop" on each other's tastes, and programs are 
drawn from a library of 2,500 titles. The primary 
objective of this service is to provide a further 
inducement to gain subscribers to the cable system. It 
also reflects the owner's dedication to community 
service. 

Although this service is not strictly two-way cable 
since the requests are telephoned, eventually some 
simple up-stream technology could provide the calhng 
function and it does currently operate in a two-way 
sense because the system is responsive to the subscri- 
bers. The eight "auto-programmation" or demand 
channels are available to the 20,000 subscribers and 
provide programs obtained from free sources (70 per 
cent National Film Board and Radio-Quebec). The 
sub.scribers receive a catalogue every four months and 
recent additions are included on a program information 
channel. Each of the eight channels is dedicated to a 
subject area: Arts. Sports, Students, Science and Educa- 
tion, Social Affairs, Children, Golden .'\ge, and Leisure. 
If there is no request on a channel, it is left blank. 
Apparently about 3,000 requests are made each week, at 
all times of the day or night. The local services cost the 
operator $350,000 a year or about one-sixth of the 
annual gross revenue, but they do show a saturation of 
43 per cent, which is nine per cent higher than National 
Cablevision in nearby Montreal. The auto-program- 
mation service appears to be highly regarded (second to 
the off-air basic service). Whether such a service on a 
fee-per-request basis would be revenue-productive is 
unlikely. If copvrights were involved and the content 
included entertainment, the system would probably fail. 
However, it does show what can be done in striving for 



166 



interactive programming and active participation from 
the community. 

As cable moves closer to being operated as a telecom- 
munications common carrier (Manitoba) and various 
operators lease channel space for specific services, it 
becomes more difficult to place responsibility on 
operators of revenue-producing services to lease 
additional channels to provide free public service. The 
problem has not yet been thought through. 

From the above discussions it is reasonable to 
conclude that in the near term, cable developments and 
the introduction of pay-TV will primarily disseminate 
more of the present typical mass media content. Even as 
the capacity for more diversity rises and responsiveness 
to individual requests improves, this role may well be 
eclipsed by in-home playback units such as videodisc, 
probably as a component of a really comprehensive 
audio/video home entertainment centre. There is a 
trade-off in costs involved between using a central 
source with a multi-channel access delivery system as 
opposed to control of playback in the home at personal 
convenience. Neither system will eliminate the other but 
the cost reductions and increased capabilities of cable 
associated with optic fibre technology are some time 
away, at least in North America. Videodisc will 
probably be established before then. 

.?. Optic Fibre 

a) The Japanese Field Trial 

On November 15, 1976, an interactive cable television 
network experiment began test operation in Japan. 
Preliminary studies of coaxial cable indicated that its 
limitations in sheer bulk. cost, and relatively narrow 
transmission area per cross section of cable would not 
match the geographical scope, multi-channel require- 
ments, and future flexibility envisaged in the proposed 
communications network. Optic fibre provided the 
answer, although it had been reputed to be ten years 
away. Using light frequencies transmitted through a 
hair-thin glass fibre which is stronger than steel, lighter 
than copper, and (when mass produced) far cheaper 
than cable, large amounts of information may be 
handled. 

The field trial w ill include 300 subscribers in the 
Higashi Ikomi area, a model city near Osaka, about 300 
miles west of Tokyo. After performance-evaluations, 
plans call for the project-called iii-cn is (Higashi Ikoma 
Optical Video Information System) to be extended to 
other parts of the country. In essence the communi- 
cation technique is similar to ReditTusion Ltd. in 
England which links each home with a pair of wires, but 
in this case, a pair of optic fibres is used with their much 
greater information capacity. This system begins to 
achieve the wired nation concept and this first field trial 
is projected to cost $15 million over three years with 
actual installation of fibre optics to begin in 1978 and 
evaluation to be completed in 1979. Both analog and 
digital signals will be used. 



With central and regional computers providing the 
necessary controls, the m-ovis test subscribers will use 
equipment installed in their homes to interest with the 
system via keyboards in a number of ways: 

i) Request television programs. The computer 
activates the video information storage and trans- 
mission unit, switching the designated program for 
automatic transmission. 

ii) Request data. Requests are transmitted to the 
subscriber in still-picture form at his option, including 
all types of specialized information, such as news. 

iii) Facsimile. Hard copies of video information can 
be obtained, including a home "newspaper". 

iv) Computer-assisted instruction. Still pictures and 
video materials are used as an educational service for 
both school-age children and adults. Questions and 
assignments appear on the screen of a multi-channel 
home television receiver with a built-in memory. 
Students respond on the keyboard, with their under- 
standing evaluated by the computer, which regulates the 
progression of the teaching program in accordance with 
the capability demonstrated by each individual. Typical 
courses are mathematics, Japanese and foreign 
languages, chemistry, and vocational training. 

v) Cashless transactions. Store and restaurant bills, 
rent, and utility charges are among those that can be 
paid through the system, with deductions made 
automatically from the bank account of the subscriber. 

vi) Television shopping and reservations. Goods 
appear on the screen of the home television set, together 
with prices. The subscriber can order via keyboard 
input. Payment is made automatically from bank 
accounts. Theatre, restaurant, and travel reservations 
can be made in essentially the same manner. 

vii) Television retransmission and independent 
television broadcast. This includes current c\T\ 
services, plus independent broadcast of stock market 
reports, time checks, weather reports, local news and 
various announcements of interest. 

viii) Request fm and independent fm. Many audio 
programs can be rebroadcast at the subscriber's request. 
Independent broadcasts consist primarily of music. 

ix) Burglar and fire alarms. Detectors are installed in 
each home so that the central computer can sense any 
abnormality, such as intrusions, e.xcessive heat and 
smoke, and respond as indicated. For example, alarms 
can be transmitted to police and fire station, and 
instructions relayed to the household on emergency 
measures to be taken while safety units are on the way. 

x) Telemetering and telecontrol. Electricity, gas and 
water meters are read automatically and charges settled 
as cashless transactions. Telecontrol ser\ice makes it 
possible to regulate household electrical appliances and 
heating and cw^ling s\ stems from outside the home. 

This list embraces practically all the features 
attributed to the most sophisticated two-way cable. The 
Japanese believe success will depend on keeping the 
home terminal equipment below $3,000 (high by our 



167 



standards) and on community involvement. They look 
on this information transmission system as the model 
for the modem "'information society". 

The objectives for developing such a system are not 
based on profit return but on national social goals. A 
number of satellite cities. "'The String of Pearls", are 
being planned. These wired cities will give Japan a 
wider and more comfortable choice of home sites 
without cultural isolation. The overall objective with its 
emphasis on education, information and corollary 
services, is to seek to augment productivity by 
enhancing the quality of life for 1 10 million residents 
(on the premise of zero population growth). 

b) Other Recent Applications of Fibre Optics 

In these last two years amazing strides have taken 
place in this technology. Stronger and better fibres are 
being produced ever more cheaplv and more and more 
they are being incorporated into existing situations. 
Rediffusion in England has installed some of their trunk 
in optic fibre, as ha\e TelePrompTer in New York, and 
the Bell Svstems. in Georgia. Canada is well in the 
forefront with the work of Dr. Elmer Hara of the 
Communications Research Centre and the studies 
currently taking place at Bell Northern Research, both 
in Ottawa. 

Other applications of fibre optics include such diverse 
items as automobile wiring, fighter aircraft (weight 
reduction - one-third the weight of copper wiring), and 
the Department of National Defence, the latter because 
the system is highly secure and can't be "bugged" in 
conventional ways while being impervious to outside 
interference. Cable systems are studying these develop- 
ments closely and see applications to trunking in the 
near future. 

c) Implications for Content 

In the absence of some all-embracing communica- 
tions strategy, as exemplified in Japan, where both the 
telephone service and all the two-way cable features will 
be carried by fibre optics, this technology in North 
America will only slowly find applications within the 
present structure. Possibly it will be applied more 
comprehensively in areas as yet unwired. Both 
Manitoba and Saskatchewan have been taking keen 
interest in the technology as a means of extending 
modern telecommunications more widely, even to the 
farm, for primarily social reasons, e.g. the right of all 
citizens to equitable telecommunications services and 
the reduction of cultural isolation. Without some such 
political will to direct the overall implementation of 
fibre optics then this new technology will simply be 
patched into the current system to replace obsolete 
parts. Once the cost reductions in fibre optics take 
place, pay-TV closed circuit ("pirate") operations may 
become economically viable on a much larger scale. 
This is not a very strong reason for an immediate pay- 
TV policy, but one that will grow in time. 



4. Satellites and the Direct Broadcast Satellite (dbs) 

a) Domestic Satellites 

Canada pioneered the development of a domestic 
communication sateUite - Anik I. which has been 
followed by Anik II and Anik III. A domestic satellite is 
positioned 22.300 miles above the equator and orbits 
around the earth at the same speed and in the same 
direction as the earth turns (synchronous). It therefore 
continuously maintains the same position relative to the 
earth's surface (geostationary). The purpose of this is to 
have, as it were, a microwave tower out in space. On 
land, microwave signals can be blocked by intervening 
objects or lost due to the curvature of the earth. A 
terrestrial microwave system is repeated from tower to 
tower, each spaced approximately 34 miles apart. A 
satellite in space can serve a whole continent. 

Canada's domestic satellite system or Telsat was 
established in 1972-1973 to provide northern communi- 
cations, supplement existing terrestrial microwave, and 
distribute television programs in the two official 
languages to the whole country. Programs are received 
at earth stations costing about SIOO.OOO each which use 
a ten-meter dish to collect the signals. These signals are 
then passed on to a local broadcasting transmitter or 
are carried via terrestrial microwave to more distant 
transmitters. Each .Anik has the capacity for 12 
television channels of a mix of television, telephone. 
data information, et cetera. 

At present nine domestic satellites serve North 
.America - Telsat's .Anik I. II. Ill: rc.a's Satcom I and 
11: Western Union's Westar I and II: and at&t gte 
Comstar I and II. .All use the same frequencies (6 GHz 
up. 4 GHz down) so that they must be separated by 
about three to tbur degrees of arc in space and the earth 
receiving station must be aimed accurately at the 
satellite it serves. Because of this separation in space, 
there is only room for about 20 such de\ ices which 
could serve North .America and already parking space is 
being rapidly filled. .After an initial slow start, the U.S. 
is using these satellites in a most aggressive way. A 
multitude of private line, specialized common carriers, 
data handlers, et cetera are using their services. Most 
noteworthy to this study is the relatively cheap 
nationwide distribution of television programs, particu- 
larly pay-TV. Both Home Box Othce (hbo) and Optical 
Systems Inc. lease channels on Satcom and Westar 
respectively. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting 
has entered into a seven-year agreement with Western 
Union to lease three transponders (up to six channels) 
for S800.000 each a year. The latest figure for hbo for 
using Satcom probably is under SI million. In Canada. 
Telsat quotes costs in the order of $2 million for equiv- 
alent service. 

The impact on the content has been to provide an 
instantaneous deliverv system which permits the 
addition of "live" events at a cost not much greater than 
bicycling video cassettes. Objections have been raised 
that the hbo fixed "menu" of programs when univer- 



168 



sally applied, fails to provide for regional and local 
differences in laste. Optical Systems Inc. on Westar, 
plans to provide four different packages which permit 
the local pay cable operator a number of options in his 
bill of fare. So far. outside of "live" events, the delivery 
system has been used essentially to distribute feature 
films. In the near future, because of the anti-siphoning 
regulations, the most attractive revenue addition would 
be the heavyweight fights. This may have to wait until 
some metering system is added to charge for special 
events. However, the last Ali-Norlon fight was carried 
by four cable systems in Florida. 

b) The Direct Broadcast Satellite (dds) 

The previously di.scussed generation of satellites are 
low power and require an expensive earth receiving 
station. Currently being tested are e,\perimental satel- 
lites using a higher frequency band (14 GHz up and 12 
GHz down) coupled with much more power. 

Canada has launched, with American assistance, the 
Communications Technology Satellite (c is) Hermes, 
the world's most powerful communications satellite. 
Hermes is the advanced technological forerunner of a 
new breed of satellites, oriented toward the provision of 
improved broadcast distribution and able to provide 
thinly populated areas with new communication 
services such as tele-education, tele-health, community 
interaction and government administration. Hermes not 
only pioneers the use of a new satellite frequency band, 
it is also about 30 times more powerful than present 
communication satellites. This makes possible the use of 
new, portable earth stations with antennas as small as 
one metre in diameter. .Already, experiments have been 
successfully conducted using Hermes to link London's 
University Hospital with Moose Factory General 
Hospital and a remote northern nursing station at 
Kasechewan, Ontario: and to link Carleton and 
Stanford Universities for an innovative course-sharing 
project, for two examples. 

The U.S. has been in\i>Kcd with a Satellite Instruc- 
tional Television Fxperiment (si 1 1 ), a direct broad- 
casting experiment with India. The project provided 
hygiene, agriculture, birth control and nutrition 
programs to 2,400 rural villagers for four hours per day. 
Television sets were surround by 200 to 1.000 people, 
and resulting from the enthusiasm and general 
beneficial eflect, the Indian government has decided to 
purchase a communication satellite to be launched in 
1980. Ihe Ford .'Xdministration decided in F'ebruary' 
1976 not to renew the siii contract. Otficial Indian 
explanations stated that nasa could no longer spare the 
Ais-6 satellite but U.S. State Department sources stated 
that the contract would probably have been renewed if 
a different political climate had existed. 

At the recent World Administrative Radio 
Conference in Ciene\a, six hundred delegates from 1 1.1 
countries met to parcel out the air wa\es of outer space. 
International aureement on such issues has become 



crucial as worldwide television broadcasting has been 
made a reality. The key problem has been international 
allocation of the high frequencies required for direct 
broadcasting from satellites to the home set. The recent 
U.S. -India site project has allowed an alternative to the 
expensive earth receiving station to be considered. The 
direct system would be of special benefit to large 
countries such as Canada. It would help to eliminate the 
expensive ground network of relay facilities, but each 
home would require a more expensive dish antenna on 
the roof aimed at satellites parked over a spot on the 
equator which would be stationary in relation to the 
earth. 

Problems exist in the technology however and in its 
administration. Satellites work on solar power and 
would therefore be oHT-the-air for a period each day. 
Northern countries like Canada, would further have a 
problem with the angle of elevation of the satellite, 
making reception impossible for towns on the north side 
of a mountain. Administratively, several countries have 
claimed sovereignty of the atmosphere thousands of 
miles above their territories and such claims must be 
internationally resolved. Of some 1 12 U.N. member 
countries, only the U.S. has voted for unrestricted use of 
direct broadcasting. All other nations have voted no. 
and Russia has declared its intent to "remove" any dbs 
which violates its airspace. 

The implications of direct broadcasting are similar, 
but on a global scale, to the spill-over or common-cov- 
erage problems which now beset Canada. Many nations 
are carefully observing our struggles with this problem 
and are determined to protect themselves if at all 
possible. Not only is there a prt)liferation problem but 
the whole current broadcasting structure in North 
America would be radically changed. If the major 
networks plus some independents were permitted such 
continental delivery then local stations based on local 
coverage areas would possibly be destroyed along with 
their community service. In all likelihood cable would 
cease to exist if 12 or more channels beamed down from 
space. The extension of telecommunication services that 
are somewhat dependent on broadcast delivery 
revenues would be sharply curtailed. The dbs is not ten 
or 15 years away. Hermes operates on a $500.00 earth 
receiving station. Similar antenna technology is now 
approaching the $60.(X) to $ 100.00 range. An operating 
satellite could be launched in three or four years. It is 
obvious that defensive global regulations must be 
sought not only for television broadcasting but also to 
protect some semblance of telecommunications sover- 
eignity. (On the other hand, if scrambled pictures were 
encoded and delivered from a Canadian dbs, and 
control of decoders were maintained within national 
boundaries; then a cheaper "cleaned up" version of 
present cable basic services plus pay-T\' could be made 
available nationally.) 



169 



5. Multi-Point Distribution System (mds) 

This technology (not licensed in Canada) is an omnidi- 
rectional microwave system which permits the distri- 
bution of a number of television signals to small dish 
receivers at a range of up to about 30 miles surrounding 
the transmitter. The primary purpose has been to 
"connect" as it were a number of apartment buildings 
and high-rises which were then internally cabled. These 
signals from the \ids head end would arrive at much less 
cost than through trunk cable. 

The receiver picks up the microwave signals, down 
converts them to \ Hf channels and puts them into the 
cable. This system has been particularlv applicable to 
urban centres in the U.S. where passing homes by cable 
is not economically sound, but where high-rises and 
condominiums do offer a substantial return. Since only 
two channels are available, mds is basically a pay-TV 
distributor. 

The economics were based on $1,200.00 for a receiver 
and down converter per complex served, which meant 
at least a minimum of 200 units in each to show a proht. 
Recently the cost of the receiver and down converter is 
estimated to have dropped greatly to somewhat below 
SI 00.00. This cost is now getting into the range wherein 
individual homes (in line-of-sight) might participate. 
The dish and down conversion is very similar to what 
would be needed to receive signals from a dbs. These 
systems are show^ing considerable growth and have 
become an industrv of their own. In Canada, this 
technology has been used to link schools with a central 
source but has never been licensed for commercial use. 

The implications tor content are simply those of 
increasing the potential number of pay-TV subscribers 
in the U.S. and more solidly establishing the industry. 
(MDS is also often used for data services and related 
telecommunications functions.) 

6. Laser 

A laser beam (a harmless one) can be used for point-to- 
point communication much more cheaply than trunk 
cable. At present it is not generally available but by 
definition it is not regulated as a broadcasting device 
since it operates at frequencies well above 300 GHz. 
Some operators have suggested using this technique in 
much the same way as mds while avoiding federal 
regulation. However, it is conceded that the definition 
would be revised promptly. 

7. Summary 

The main conclusions to be drawn from this section on 
delivery systems include the following: 

a) That improved multi-channel cable or optic fibre 
delivery can greatly increase the variety of programs 
available, and with techniques for demand 
programming and information retrieval can lead to 
much more interaction between the consumer and the 
system. 

b) That if the implementation of these innovations is 



left simply to the marketplace then in-home devices 
such as videodisc players or video cassettes will 
probably gain a substantial control over this aspect of 
consumer demand first and further retard these cable 
developments. 

c) That fibre optics plus a political will could lead to 
an integrated system offering both commercially viable 
and socially useful services. 

d) That the imminent DBS could be a very cheap, 
equitable delivery system but many of the social conse- 
quences of an unregulated continental system are highly 
undesirable. 

e) That, given the present telecommunications and 
broadcasting infrastructure, then by and large, the most 
likely additional services in the near future will be 
predicated on the wider distribution and increased 
quantity of foreign content at the expense of Canadian 
production and our cultural identity. This also means 
increasing the amount of content associated with 
themes of violence. 

D. Exhibition 

Not much change is anticipated in our conventional 
television receiver but there are increasing calls for 
improvements. The sound, although of quasi-FM 
capability, is poorly reproduced and the picture 
compares unfavourably with European standards which 
are somewhat higher. Recently with the advent of pay- 
TV. Hollywood producers have begun to call for much 
larger screens and stereo sound so that the event-pic- 
tures and spectacles will achieve some of the impact 
they have in the cinema. 

/. Big Screen 

Electrohome in Canada and the Advent Corporation in 
the U.S. are starting to manufacture large screens for 
educational use. commercial use (taverns), and even 
homes. They are still quite expensive and because of the 
525-line standard, the picture suffers in definition in 
much the same way as a photo enlargement of a poor 
negative. To change the line standard would mean 
making every television obsolete in North America 
unless a compatible change were devised, such as 
producing new big-screen sets with 1,050 lines which 
would require a signal at double the present standard. 
Conventional broadcast stations would probably be 
unable to supply it but videodiscs or improved cable 
could. The big screen of today seems unlikely to 
penetrate the mass market because of cost and quality. 
There are some possibilities in the distant future of large 
fiat picture screens but these would need much higher 
information rates, possibly in digital form. 

2. Stereo Sound 

The present technology of the television set will not 
permit stereo sound. One of the problems is that the 
sound information is quite separate from the picture 
information and is modulated differently (i m as 



170 



opposed to AM picture). Very frequently the sound 
reaching the set is of a very low order since it originates 
from a film track (six KHz), or it is distributed by land 
line (eight KHz) and a better quality speaker would 
make little difference. One suggested improvement is to 
transmit the sound along with the picture during 
horizontal retrace and some networks are moving 
toward this. Only when the broadcasting stations also 
follow through and new sets are equipped to detect it, 
would the consumer benefit. Videodisc technology is 
capable of excellent sound and this may be one of the 
selling points. This quality of sound may have to be 
reproduced over an adjacent hi-fi set and quadraphonic 
sound on videodisc is predicted to be the standard in 10 
years. 



ideal comprehensive and integrated system which 
should be pursued in the light of our social and political 
requirements, even without regard to the economics. If 
it is left to the marketplace to decide, the investor is at 
least as cautious and indecisive. There are too many 
imponderables which threaten long-term 
investments-too many huge vested interests already 
contending. In this climate financial wisdom dictates 
pursuit of speedy direct returns-therefore in the near 
future look to pay-TV and videodisc predicated on 
known successful content, which means more of same. 



.1 Holography 

The ability to project three-dimensional pictures in 
space was first demonstrated in 1948. As yet no 
commercially viable application to mass media distri- 
bution has emerged. Some of the videodisc technologies 
depend on holographic techniques to encode the infor- 
mation for two-dimensional playback. The basic 
problem with holography lies in the huge amount of 
information of band width required to transmit a 
holograph, plus the complex equipment needed to 
project the image. It has been speculated that optic fibre 
could handle the information task but this appears 
remote for at least a long time. Holography in the home 
could provide startlingly new content with awesome 
impact, but not in the near future. 

4. Siimnuiry 

Having once standardized our television system, 
changes which would make all the existing sets obsolete 
are inconceivable. Videodisc players built into or wired 
directly into the set offer considerably improved 
pictures and sound. Some technical changes in trans- 
mission, e.g. circular polarization, may also improve 
broadcast pictures by reducing interference and 
ghosting. No startling changes are forseen in the near 
future. 

E. Summary 

Currently there is an explosion of technological devel- 
opments each advancing the implementation of 
conflicting systems. Videodisc and integrated circuit 
technology move us away from centralized distribution 
and a sophisticated delivery system. Optic fibre by 
reducing the cost of broadband transmission and 
increasing the information capacity of "cable" makes 
centralization more economically practical. Direct 
Broadcast Satellites could take over completely the 
television station delivery function of cable at much less 
cost. A few nationally or continentally deli\ered 
television stations could wreak havoc with the conven- 
tional local o\er-the-air broadcasting system. In these 
circumstances it is difficult enough to determine an 



17! 



Chapter Six 

Conclusions and Recommendations 



A. Conclusions 

Economic factors have varying degrees of influence on 
filmmaking and television programming and the presen- 
tation of violence in film and television. Among the 
factors shown to have some impact are the market size. 
the proximity of markets, the competitive nature of the 
industries, the assessment of audience and preferences 
or market demand, costs of production, and distribution 
and exhibition infra-structures and practices. 

It has been shown that the film and television indus- 
tries are highly competitive, commercial enterprises 
whose objective is to maximize size of audiences and 
therefore profits. In doing so they will attempt to 
minimize production costs in producing and focusing 
on those types of films and programs which have the 
greatest proven and perceived potential in attracting 
audiences. The violence theme has shown itself to be a 
comparatively good cinema box-office draw and has 
generally received comparativelv high ratings on televi- 
sion. While violence-oriented films and programs are 
not necessarily less expensive to produce than films and 
programs of other themes given the current mix of 
themes and formats, producers believe that violence 
possesses a greater degree of certainty in attracting 
audiences. The comparative success of violence- 
oriented films and television programs, in relation to 
their costs of production, has produced a built-in 
economic inertia for them to perpetuate. 

Successful theatrical films featuring violence as the 
theme have been produced at both high and low cost as 
have less successful films, and this is also true of non-vi- 
olent films. The cost of production does not appear to 
have a major bearing on the success of a film, although 
higher-cost films obviously permit greater flexibilitv for 
the producer in his choice of story, cast, director, 
location, sets, et cetera. However, the theme, a star cast. 
a famous director, expensive story copyright, or any of a 
number of other variables in movie-making are not 
necessarily, by themselves, or even collectively, a 
guarantee of success. Much depends on the manner in 
which they are combined, together with audience 
preferences and the timing of release. Violence as a 
theme appears to be attractive because it lends itself to a 



highly formulaic pattern and does not necessarily 
require good acting and a good story to connect 
sequences and hold audience interest and attention. 
.Acting and story quality have more importance in the 
case of drama, traditional romance, comedy, adventure 
or spectacular historic events. It appears that films of 
violence offer a reasonably good box-ofl[ice draw and 
can be produced reasonably quickly and in abundance 
on consistently moderate to low-cost budgets. While 
other types of film themes can also be produced for 
approximately the equivalent cost, these other variables 
combined with the apparent greater certainity. or 
perceived certainty, at the box-office have caused 
producers, particularly independents, to concentrate on 
the violence theme. 

A similar situation is found in television program- 
ming. Police/ detective programs, where much of the 
violence is found, are not the cheapest to produce, nor 
are they the highest-rated category of programs on 
television. Comedies are generally cheaper to produce 
and on the average have received higher ratings. 
Comedies, however, are deemed to be more difficult to 
produce, requiring good scripts and cast performances 
for success; often suflTering in the syndicated market. In 
contrast, police/detective programs follow a highly 
formulistic structure and weak plots and acting can be 
covered with vigorous physical action. They have stood 
relatively high in the Nielsen ratings chart and on the 
whole have been relativel} consistent. In addition, they 
tend to appeal to the 25-34 year age group which adver- 
tisers are most anxious to reach, and they have good 
syndication value. 

While violence appears in both theatrical film and 
television programs, the violence in television tends to 
be less graphic and more subdued or subtle. But the fact 
that violence does appear on television has likely 
contributed in part to the extreme nature of violence in 
theatrical film, coupled with the increasing tendency 
toward more open sexuality, profanity, et cetera, 
currently found in films. Theatres are in direct comp)e- 
tition with television, and many theatrical film 
producers believe that thcN must offer theatre-goers 
entertainment of a type that they cannot obtain from 



172 



television. The result has been an increasing tendency 
toward graphic violence and sex which generally have 
received a restricted tilm-censor rating and which 
appear to appeal to a sufficiently large theatrical 
audience, and consistently enough, for movie-makers to 
perpetuate the trend. The evidence indicates a greatly 
increasing proportion of X- and R-rated films to total 
film in the last few years. 

In Canada, market size is a major factor in the 
production of both theatrical film and television 
programs. Canada represents a relatively small market, 
one-tenth the size of the U.S., and only the exceptional 
Canadian-produced film, if produced on a modest to 
low-cost budget, can expect to make a profit if distri- 
bution is restricted to the domestic market. Similarly 
independent producers of television programs have 
contended that thev cannot cover costs of production if 
sale is limited to the Canadian networks. Producers of 
both film and television programs must look at the 
foreign market. In the past, the U.S. market has been 
the most attractive but the most difficult to enter. 

The U.S. film industry is the dominant factor in the 
production, distribution, and exhibition of 
Canadian-made films. Not onK is the Canadian market 
for domestic films small, these films must compete with 
U.S. -made films and the Hollvwood image. A very large 
portion of theatrical billings in Canada are American 
billings. The major film distributors in Canada are 
primarily Americans who have working agreements 
with U.S. producers or distributors, thereby assuring 
them of a constant supply of films. The two major 
cinema chains in Canada, Famous Players and Odeon, 
are foreign owned and have occasionally been accused 
of favouring foreign films. Canadian producers, outside 
of this production distribution exhibition structure. 
with limited financial resources and limited distribu- 
tional expertise and facilities, must nevertheless 
compete within these constraints domestically and 
attempt to gain access to foreign, including the U.S., 
markets. Consequently. Canadian film producers have 
tended to follow the Hollvwood film format, concen- 
trating on themes which appear "'safer" in terms of 
possessing a degree of certainty at the Canadian and 
U.S. box-office and which in addition can be produced 
and distributed at relatively low cost, and these have 
included themes of violence, sexuality, and horror. 

1 he proximity of the Canadian and L'.S. markets is a 
dominant factor in the television industry. The two 
countries practicalh form a cinnmon market for U.S. 
televisii>n programs, and U.S. programming is a major 
determinant in Canadian television programming. 
Canadian and American viewer preferences and 
viewing habits are very similar, and for Canadian 
television stations in a common-coverage area, or in an 
area served by cable, to deviate significantly from the 
types of programs shown in the I'.S. generally means a 
loss of audience and consequently advertising revenue. 
American networks have been shown to otTer little 



diversity in their programming in prime time, concen- 
trating on three or four program types, namely police/- 
detective, action/adventure, movies, and situation- 
comedies. The first three, particularly police/detective, 
are frequently violence-oriented. The homogeneity of 
program schedules and games of counter-programming 
frequently otTer the viewer little choice, c rv to a large 
degree, and ( bc to a lesser degree, follow these 
programming patterns. U.S. programs can be purchased 
by the Canadian networks at only a fraction of the cost 
of Canadian-made (network or independent) programs 
and have been shown to be preferred by Canadian 
audiences. 

Violence in theatrical films and television programs is 
an established fact. In film in particular, more graphic 
violence has been increasingly combined with open 
sexuality and profanity, resulting in an increasing 
proportion of feature films being placed on the 
"parental guidance" or "restricted" list by film 
censorship and classification boards. Censorship boards 
and obscenity laws appear to be the only restraints on 
feature film content. In television, concern over violence 
prompted the U.S. networks to enter into a voluntary 
agreement to restrict violence in the early hours of 
prime time. Concern has also been expressed by 
numerous groups in society, such as the National 
Association for Better Broadcasting (\ abb). This group, 
along with others, has launched an assualt on violence 
in television by concentrating on the sponsors of 
violence programs and urging the public to shun the 
sponsors" products in the market. To date a number of 
companies have specified that their products not be 
used to sponsor programs of violence but as yet a 
definitive trend in this direction is not clearly discer- 
nible. 

However, material too recent to be included in the 
body of the report indicates that these citizen horror- 
abatement and anti-violence compaigns are having 
some results. TTie n.abb headquarters in Los Angeles 
started contacting advertisers whose spots on the local 
television station, k( oi>, were being used during late 
afternoon and earlv evening showings of movies filled 
with totallv gratuituous horror and \ iolence. Fifteen of 
the two dozen sponsors contacted have removed their 
spots from the movie programs. The station, while 
denying that its action was in any way influenced either 
by public concern or sponsor withdrawal, has moved 
some of its worst horror films from Saturday afternoon 
to late Sundav evening. 

Throughout the L'.S. the .American Medical Associ- 
ation and National Cimgress of Parents and Teachers 
have passed resolutions condemning excessive violence 
on television and are starting programs, both independ- 
entlv and jointly to "actively oppose"" the products and 
services of advertisers on such programs. The Pi v has 
established a committee which will hold regional 
meetings across the U.S. The National Citizens 
Committee lor Broadcasting is now prepared to release 



173 



a specialized series of reports on prime-time violence. 
TTiese reports, which consist of summaries and profiles 
on a regular basis, available three working days after 
the close of each week, are the result of an ongoing 
project employing six monitors. Basically, the reports 
cite the five most "violent" and five least "violent" 
sponsors based on participation in the five most and 
least violent program from 63 prime-time shows. 

The implication of the above is that citizen action on 
the economic front by identifying and publicizing 
"violent" sponsors is perceived to be effectual. 

Violence in film and television programs shown in 
Canada has more or less been on a par with that in the 
U.S. In fact, in an effort to survive. Canadian feature- 
film producers have concentrated on violence, sexuality, 
horror, and other facets which tend to place films on the 
parental guidance or restricted list at least to as great if 
not a greater extent than U.S. producers. Efforts have 
been made to assist and develop the Canadian film 
industry through financial assistance for production and 
distribution by the cfdc. the arrangement of co- 
production agreements, encouragement to Canadian 
distributors and exhibitors to financially support 
Canadian-made film, and voluntary quotas for such film 
by the major exhibitors (Famous Players and Odeon). 
The economic realities and constraints outlined earlier, 
however, have prompted Canadian and co-producers to 
follow the success of Hollywood format and themes 
(including violence), to import performers and directors 
to increase international appeal, and in general to 
produce low-cost, carbon copies of U.S. films. 

Independent production of television programs in 
Canada is practically non-existent. While American 
networks rely almost totally on independently produced 
programs for prime-time showing, the Canadian 
networks tend to produce "in-house" and are either not 
interested in independent productions or, given the low 
price at which U.S. programs are available, do not offer 
a suflScient price for the productions to encourage 
independents. 

The production of violent content in Canada for 
Canadian television is of minimal concern. The costs of 
producing dramatic narratives for purely national 
consumption which is supported only by advertising 
revenue are prohibitive. The only economically viable 
entertainment content appears to be 515,000 produc- 
tions like Pig S'Whislle. Irish Rovers and Ryan's Fancy. 
The few attempts to penetrate the continental market 
with action/ adventure programs, e,g. Police Surgeon, 
have disappeared. 

The effect of cable has been to markedly proliferate 
U.S. programs in Canada, increasing U.S. acculturation 
through the mass media. Our young people, although 
increasingly concerned about the lack of Canadian 
programs, are increasingly tuned to the U.S. content. 
Only one-third to one-quarter of the nation's viewing 
time is devoted to Canadian programs. With cable and 
licensing of additional Canadian stations it is quite 



po,ssible in most of our major cities to watch television 
continuously without ever viewing a Canadian program. 

The introduction of pay-TV into Canada appears to 
offer little likelihood of offering much in the way of 
alternatives to conventional Hollywood movies and 
standard television fare (with the exception of pornog- 
raphy). Even in the pay-per-program mode the evidence 
so far is hardly heartening. Unless Canada opts for 
some rather radical structure for pay-TV the indications 
are that it will provide 20 to 25 per cent of homes with 
"more of same". 

The newer technologies (particularly videodisc and 
optic fibre) do indicate some capability for providing 
genuine options in content and the viewing of them "on 
demand" at the consumer's convenience. Much as 
feature films have been pressured into seeking content 
unavailable on conventional television, programs for 
these systems may also differentiate into exploitive 
topics. Conversely the competition for viewer's time 
may further direct conventional television into areas of 
sex and violence. Where there is the capability for 
viewer control and direct purchasing of content, e.g. 
pay-per-program pay-TV and videodisc, there are 
definite indications that pornography is in considerable 
demand. There is no evidence that violence provides the 
same attraction. However, in order to satisfy increas- 
ingly jaded tastes the combination of sex and violence 
may be the outcome. On the other hand, these more 
individual-centred systems hold out great hope of being 
capable of providing a wide variety of other content not 
easily provided by the mass media-ballets, operas, 
symphonies ethnic culture, et cetera - and could 
through complex learning systems provide much for the 
citizen's self-development. They would appear to 
enlarge the parameters of choice. 

Satellite transmission, most particularly the direct 
broadcast satellite, is an area of grave concern to all 
nations but one. The problems Canada has experienced 
with "spill-over" of conventional U.S. television signals 
could be magnified on a global scale. Since all satellites 
of a particular generation use the same frequencies for 
transmitting a dozen or so television channels, selection 
of these channels depends on directing the receiving 
dish at the desired satellite. The only ways control could 
be exerted would be by prohibiting personal ownership 
of the receiving apparatus or by insisting that all signals 
in space be scrambled with the hopes of controlling the 
particular descramblers used within the nation. Because 
one direct broadcast satellite could transmit very 
cheaply the content of a number of networks to a whole 
continent, the present economics of television stations 
located in separate markets owned or operated by 
various licensees with obligations to serve their 
community would be drastically changed. While serving 
to provide a nation with a single and uni\ersally acces- 
sible system, regardless of how remote the home, the 
DBS could severely damage regional and local program- 
ming. With this highly sophisticated and centralized 



174 



lechnolDgy, control of violent content could easily 
reside with the programming authorities who would be 
under close state scrutiny and easily enforceable 
control. Another nation's dus would raise totally 
different problems and could destroy a nation's 
integrity m its communications systems. 

In the final analysis the two main visual media, 
television and film, demonstrate the classical economic 
attributes of oligopolistic and vertically integrated 
industries. A few large companies dedicated to the 
avoidance of risk and to the introduction of only 
marginal changes attempt tt) maximize profits through 
increasing revenue (audience) and 'or reducing costs. 

In the case of television there is an upward limit to 
the amount of time people are prepared to view and 
therefore an upward limit to advertiser revenue. The 
unit costs of exhibition and distribution tend to be fixed 
but in production some savings may be effected. 
Although the initial costs of a program also tend to be 
fixed, the wider the program is disseminated, the less the 
pro-rated cost. This leads to such strategies as more 
frequent repeats, internal syndication, and primarily to 
extending the market for the programs for whatever 
monies can be recovered. 

In the case of film, and in Canada particularly, the 
industry integrates exhibition-distribution-production 
and any one of these can become a profit centre. Again 
the cost of film is markedly reduced as distribution 
broadens. Similarly with television programs, once the 
content has been made, outside of royalties owing, the 
only expenses are the promotion and replication in 
extending their revenue returning capabilities. 

The economic thrust of these facts, in the absence of 
protectionist policies, is to permit Canada to be a part 
of a continental common market with the basic content 
decisions established in New York. If the content 
becomes increasingly more violent it is because the 
industries perceive this as competitively necessary in 
meeting consumer expectations and demands and 
therefore conducive to large profits. Primarily what 
Canadians see or hear on television and in films is the 
result of what content is economically possible and 
successful in the U.S. 

B. Rccnniiiicndations 

If the objective is to reduce the degree of violence 
shown in theatres and television, a number of possible 
alternative measures may be considered. These range 
from rigid, direct controls of censorship of domestical- 
ly-produced and imported films and television programs 
of violence, to indirect discouragement of showing 
violence. Not all these measures can be viewed as 
equally viable policy. 

Rigorous censorship of violence in domestically- 
produced films and programs and an outright ban on 
imported films and programs of violence may be highl\ 
effective in curtailing violence shown in cinemas and 
television but it poses numerous difficulties and 



problems. Censorship is generally abhorrent to many 
who do not wish to be subjected to the opinion of others 
as to what they may or may not see. The blacking-out 
or "jamming" of U.S. stations in border, common-cov- 
erage areas might be technically feasible but hardly a 
serious alternative. Furthermore, almost any inter- 
ference with U.S. signals may invite retaliation against 
Canadian-produced film and television programs and 
the foreign market is essential for a viable Canadian 
film industry. Such a measure could also mean a consid- 
erable loss of advertising revenue for television 
networks and stations that rely on inexpensive foreign 
programs to remain financially solvent and to subsidize 
high-priced Canadian productions. 

On the other hand, a relatively milder form of 
censorship may be sufl^cient in curbing the violence in 
the more blatant, exploitive types of violence-oriented 
films and television programs. While these regulations 
could be applied to programs transmitted by Canadian 
stations and cable operators (a Canadian licensee is not 
permitted to broadcast anything unlawful), it would 
have no effect on over-the-air reception from the U.S. 

An alternative to imposed censorship, particularly for 
curbing violence in television, would be to encourage 
Canadian television networks and stations, along with 
cable and pay-TV operators, to establish a professional 
code for an acceptable degree of violence in the 
television media, following the now rescinded concept 
of "Family Hour" in the U.S. but extending it to all 
viewing hours. But, as in the case of censorship, such a 
measure would not solve the problem of violence from 
American television signals picked up by Canadian 
audiences in border, common-coverage areas, 

A supplementary measure could consist of increased 
assistance to the Canadian film industry to promote the 
production of quality, non-violent films. This would 
involve considerably more extensive financial assistance 
by the cfdc (or other agencies formed for this purpose) 
to the Canadian film industry than has been given in the 
past. Concurrently the questions of quota and levies 
would have to be studied and probably strengthened to 
ensure distribution and further financial support. While 
it has been argued that Canada has the talent and 
technical expertise for good quality productions for 
cinema and telex ision, both areas sufler from lack of 
finances for these productions. Examples such as Lies 
Mv Father Told Me are evidence that good quality, non- 
violent, internationally competitive and profitable films 
can be produced in Canada given adequate financial 
and distributional resources. Favourable tax conce.s- 
sions have recently been legislated by the federal 
government to encourage investment in Canadian 
feature film but this financing does not appear to be 
coming forth in sufiicient quantity or directed into more 
desirable content. Greater government support appears 
the only viable alternative or source of supplemental 
finances. Such support, however, would have to be 
sufficient to encouraee, and should be directed to films 



175 



in excess of $1 million undertaken independently by 
Canadian producers or under terms of co-production 
agreements which don't simply lead to the mimicking of 
Hollywood features. Good quality, non-violent, interna- 
tionally appealing films are not likely to be produced 
consistently on shoe-string budgets. Such assistance 
could furthermore be restricted for the assistance in the 
production and distribution of non-violent films. 
Attractive alternatives to violence must be produced. 
Quotas in theatres for Canadian-made films as is 
currently practised could be continued or increased. 
Ideally this would not be necessary if films with good 
potential box oflice are produced. With respect to 
quotas, as one producer once states: "You can put 
garbage in the theatre but you can't force people to 
come to see it." 

A more viable policy would be to encourage and 
assist the production of film that people will be 
attracted to. There is considerable evidence that 
non-violent films can be just as appealing as violent 
films but the ingredients for a successful film must be 
present. Probably the cfdc should express some social 
concern in its funding policies. It is questionable that 
public monies should be spent on exploitive pictures 
even if they produce a return. 

A third measure in this policv "mix" could consist of 
the establishment of a permanent public agency or 
board which would perform a function similar to that of 
the National Citizens Committee for Broadcasting in 
the U.S. Its function could be to classify films and 
television programs on the basis of violence, publicize 
possible undesirable effects of viewing violence, and to 
encourage people and advertisers to shun such 
programs and films: if thought necessary, it could 
encourage the public to shun the products of companies 
sponsoring such programs on television. A degree of 
negative public reaction to sponsors' products might 
well have more effect in curtailing violence on television 
programs than any other policy short of outright 
ngorous censorshop. 

Since advertising is an area of provincial concern 
(and the crtc in the past has respected provincial 
regulations as applicable to broadcast content in the 
provinces), it is possible that rules might be established 
concerning the promotion and publicity of violent 
events-both with respect to the advertising material 
itself and to the fact it publicizes such an event. The 
point is that much of the violent content in the commu- 
nications industry, although possibly just suggestive, is 
in the advertising, e.g. newspaper ads. television and 
radio spots, of violent or exploitive films (or television 
programs). Whether or not members of the public wish 
to view the film they are often involuntarily exposed to 
the promotional activities surrounding the event. 
Children are continually exposed to provocative and 
suggestive advertising while restricted from actually 
attending the film. Some curbs in this area might lower 
the ambient level of violence in society while reducing 
the power of the advertising messages to promote the 



events. This suggestion is not dissimilar to the attitudes 
expressed toward liquor advertising which suggests an 
unrealistic view of its consumption or over-consump- 
tion. 

The problems of spill-over broadcasting are probably 
insoluble. As people turn more and more to cable and 
ultimately optic fibre as the prime means of reception in 
common-coverage areas, their capability to return to 
over-the-air reception may deteriorate. At this time it 
may be possible to exert stronger infiuence on just what 
is carried by cable and how it is procured. The problem 
of violence on television is just a part of the whole 
Canadian broadcasting and program production 
problem. The study of options for the restructuring (re- 
capturing) of broadcasting in Canada should be given 
considerable priority. It is unlikely that we can solve 
much of the problem of violence without solving the 
problem of U.S. domination of our airwaves and the 
viewing preferences of our citizens. 

With the introduction of pay-TV into Canada 
imminent, most indications are that the medium will 
intensify the proliferation of U.S. content in Canada 
along with the attendant problems of violence. In the 
pay-per-channel mode, although unlikely to show X- 
rated film, the R films remain unedited, and are harder 
than their current release in advertiser-supported televi- 
sion. Unless the objectives as expressed by the Hon. 
Jeanne Sauve can be demonstrably achieved, the value 
of this medium in its present state is highly problemat- 
ical. Attention at lea,st should be given to provincial film 
standards being applied and the ratings should be 
clearly indicated in the program guides, et cetera. 

With respect to the newer technologies in the case of 
videodiscs, some form of import controls must be estab- 
lished over what may become the most pervasive 
content technology yet. Any capability for .American 
(or other foreign countrv's) direct broadcast satellites to 
beam directlv into Canadian homes should be 
protested. Canada has already indicated its opposition 
to their unrestricted use but this is an area that needs to 
be watched. 

In sum, short of restructuring our film and television 
industries, the best economic approaches to modifying 
the violence in the visual media for the present appear 
to lie in tactics designed to impress the advertisers of 
violent content and the advertising of the events. 

Late addendum: 

At the National A.ssociation of Broadcasters annual 
convention in Washington, March 28 to 30, 1977, the 
industry was advised by Hollywood program suppliers 
that violence would be reduced considerably in next 
season's programs but that emphasis on sex would 
increase. In light of the huge success of Charlie's Angels 
the members were told to look forward to many more 
"bra-less females in athletic roles." 

No reason was stated for this trade-off in emphasis 
but it appeared that pressure from the public and from 
advertisers was being effective in the area of violent 
content. 



176 



Endnotes 

Chapter 2 

1 The average cost of films financially assisted by the Canadian 
Film Development Corporation in 1975-76 was approximately 
$600,000. ci IX . Annutil Report. 1975-76. 

2 This was the position put forward by Ken Rosenberg, crtc, 
Vahely. Nov. 24, 1976. p. 32. 

3 Prof Garth Drabinsky estimated this ratio to be 
approximately 5 to 1. See Garth Drabinsky. Motion Pictures 
and the Arts in Cumutci (Joronlo: McGraw-Hill. 1976). p. 151. 
Producer Harry Gulkin estimated that his film Lies My Father 
Told Me (cosl $1.2 million) had to gross between $6 million 
and $8 million at the box office before it could start to pay off 
investors. BoxoJJice. March 22. 1976. Another producer 
estimated that the break-even ratio of box-office 
revenue/costs of production was as high as 10 to 1. 

4 The Hollywood Reporter. Jan. 2S. 1976. 

5 The Globe and Mail. Dec. 7, 1976. 

6 Ibid. 

7 77ie Los Angeles Herald Examiner. May 28. 1972 

8 r/mc. Jan. 3. 1977. p. 58. 

9 Ibid. 

10 Women's Wear Daily, iuh 18. 1974 

1 1 Newsweek. Nov. 8. 1975 

12 r//ne. Oct. 27, 1975 

13 7Vif Los Angeles Herald Examiner. May 28. 1972 

14 International Motion Picture Almanac. 1976. 

15 Ibid. 

16 This IS primarily the same list as that analyzed in J. Linton 
and G. Jowett. "A Content .Analysis of Feature Films." 
(Ontario. Royal Commission on Violence in the 
Communications Industry. Report. Vol. 1. Violence in 
Television. Films and .Sews). 

17 Data on rental revenues for films are used rather than box 
office because they are more readily available and more 
reliable than box-office data. 

18 The New York Times. Nov. 28. 1975. 

19 .An example is the publicized difficulty producer Dino de 
Laurentiis had in finding financial backers for his $24 million 
film King Kong. See Time. Oct. 25. 1976. 

20 Boxoffice. Nov. 8, 1975. 

21 The Los Angeles Herald Examiner. Jan. 25. 1975. 

22 Statistics Canada. Motion Picture Production. /974 (Ottawa, 
1976). 

23 See sections on distribution and exhibition. 

24 Financial Times of Canada. Na\. 1, 1976, p. 34. 

25 The Toronto Star. Nov. 1. 1976. p. D5. 

26 Maclean's. Nov. I, 1976, p. 46. 

27 Currently, Cinemedia and Columbia are working towards the 
production of Bethum: a $6,000,000-57,000.000 co-production 
with Cinemedia raising $3,000,000 (including 15 percent from 
the (. FDC). One-third of the picture is to be filmed in Canada. 
Variety. Nov. 24, 1976, p. 30. 

28 It would appear that a Canadian film distributed by an 



American distributor in the U.S. is sometimes not identified as 
Canadian. Take the case of Lies My Father Told Me. a film 
distributed by Columbia Pictures which won a number of 
international awards: "The awards brochure only listed "Lies' 
as being from Columbia Pictures . . ." Boxoffice, Mar. 22. 
1976. 

29 Variety, Nov, 24, 1976. p. 50. 

30 Variety. Nov. 29, 1976. p. 50. and the Council of Canadian 
Filmmakers. Toronto. Ontario. 

31 Maclean's. Nov. 1, 1976. p. 54. 

32 Variety. >io. 24. 1976. p. 51. 

33 Bureau of Management Consultants. Film Study Report, 1976, 
p. 184. 

34 CFDC. Annual Report. 1975-76. 

35 Ibid. 

36 Variety. Nov. 24. 1976, p. 3 1 and p. 60. 

37 Statistics Canada. Motion Picture Theatres and Film 
Distribution. 1974. Statistics Canada does not show the total 
number of films (including those released in previous years) 
distributed nor does it provide a breakdown of the number 
distributed to television. 

38 Most of this originated from the distribution of feature films 
involving outlays in excess of $2 million. 

39 Statistics Canada, Motion Picture Theatres and Film 
Distribution, 1974. 

40 Variety. Se^i. 1. 1976. 

41 Canadian Motion Picture Distributors .Association. See also 
Department of Supply and Services, Film Study, p. 268. 

42 These companies are as follows: 
Canadian -owned 

Astral Films Ltd. (subsidiary of Astral-Bellevue-Pathe) also 

represents J. Arthur Rank and avco Embassy, plus 

independents. 

Bellevue Film Distribution (also represents Twentieth 

Century Fox and VValt Disney.) 

International Film Distributors Ltd. (represents 

independents.) 

Foreign-owned 

Columbia Pictures of Canada 

Paramount Pictures Corporation (Canada) Ltd. 

Twentieth Century Fox Coiporalion 

United Artists Corporation (MGM Canada Ltd.) 

Universal Films (Canada) 

Warner Brothers Distributing (Canada) Ltd. 

See Department of Supply and Services, Bureau of 

Management Consulting, Film Study Report. 1976, p. 257. 

(with corrections) 

43 Ibid., p. 255. 

44 Garth Drabinsky. Motion Pictures and The .-ins in Canada 
(Toronto: McGraw-Hill. 1976). 

45 Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association statistics. 

46 Drabinsky. op. cit. 

47 Advertising expenditures for launching a feature film in 
Toronto: 

48 Establishments have more than one auditorium are shown as 



177 



Advertising expenditures for launching a feature film in Toronto: 

Film Disl. Print 

The Sting Universal 3,500 

Airport 75 Universal 3.700 

Earthquake Universal 5.600 

Serpico Paramount 5.000 

The Great Gatsby Paramount 9,300 

Godfather II Paramount 11.900 



Radio 
2.000 

2.300 

2,300 
3.700 
3.700 



Television 
7,500 

7,500 

7.500 

3,000 

4.650 

6.530 



single establishments in the Statistics Canada data. For 1974. 
the 1,1 16 establishments reported a total of I. '231 auditoriums. 

49 Statistics Canada, Motion Picture Theatres and Film 
Distributors. / 974 (Ottawa. 1976). 

50 Victor Beattie. Canadian General Manager of Twentieth 
Century Fox Distributors has stated: "Ten years ago. some 
400 films were released. These days fewer than 200 top-draw ■ 
films are being produced each year." Financial Times. "The 
Decline of Canadian Movie Theatres." Perspective On Money. 
Sept.-Oct. 1976. p. 19. 

51 George Destounis. the President of Famous Players Ltd.. has 
suggested that most cinemas would probably not be able to 
survive without their confectionary concessions. Ibid., p. 18. 

52 The Council of Canadian Filmmakers, presentation to the 
Royal Commission on Corporate Concentration. Februarv 20. 
1976. 

53 Ibid. See also Department of Supply and Service. Film Studv 
Report, pp. 278-279. 

54 Rocco Cinemas Ltd.. an independent Canadian film 
exhibition chain operating in New Brunswick and Nova 
Scotia, has taken legal action charging the major distributors 
with discrimination. In a press release. Rocco stated. 

In Halifax ... all the major distributors have refused to offer 
us a single first-run film, good or bad. . . . Two distributors 
told us thev had an arrangement with Famous Players Ltd. 
or with Famous and Odeon Theatres (Canada) Ltd. 
whereby all their films would be played by their distributors. 

Rocco went on to state: 

. . . Canadian-made films are unable to find theatres to 
exhibit their product. Famous Players and Odeon contend 
that the reason is that Canadians do not make movies that 
are successful at the box office. Yet we played many 
Canadian-made movies that Famous Players and Odeon 
rejected for 14 out of 52 weeks in our theatre in Saint John 
in our first year of operation, and we made money on all the 
films except one. In fact, the profit we made from these 
Canadian films was greater than the profit from most of the 
pictures of all the major distributors. 

See the Council of Canadian Filmmakers presentation to the 
Royal Commission on Corporate Concentration. Feb. 20. 
1976. 

55 This was the position of oflficials at Cinepix Ltd. in Montreal, 
producers of such reasonably successful films as Shivers and 
Death Weekend. 

56 croc. Annual Report. 1974-75. 

57 CFDC. Annual Report. 1975-76. 

58 Statement by Famous Players Ltd. 



59 The study consisted of a sample survev conducted for the 
Motion Picture Association of .'\merica by Opinion Research 
Corporation. Princeton. N.Y. during the period July-August 
1976. Interviews were held with 2.164 adults (age 18 and over) 
and 455 teenagers (age 12-17) for a total sample size of 2.532 
persons. Projections to the total population were based on 
Census Bureau estimates for the total population. Opinion 
Research Corporation, Incidence of Motion Picture Attendance. 
(Study for the Motion Picture Association of America, 1976.) 

60 The source of the data in these tables is a survey conducted by 
the Department of Secretarv of State with the cooperation of 
Statistics Canada. The sample in the survey was a very large 
one (50.000) so that the results may be considered to be a 
reasonablv close approximation of the actual situation. See 
Secretary of State. A Leisure Studv ~ Canada. 1972 
(Ottawa! 1973). 

Cliapter 3 

1 A number of economic theories, models, and game theories 
have been utilized and adopted in an attempt to explain 
television programming patterns. Steiner. Wiles. McGowan. 
Levin. Owen, et cetera have developed models based 
primarily on Hotelling's theory of spatial competition, 
Cournot's model of duopoly, and various obigopoly theories. 
Most of these models show that television networks or 
stations, competing for audiences, engage in program 
imitation and duplication, resulting in "excessive sameness." 
The theory of games, a set of tools for analyzing situations of 
conflict between parties, has also been employed to explain 
behaviour where direct communication or collusion between 
rivals is difficult. For a summary of some of these models, see 
B.M. Owen et al.. Television Economics (Toronto: Heath & 
Co.. 1974). and W. G. Manning and B. M. Owen. "Television 
Rivalry and Network Power." Public Policy. Winter 1976. 

2 Broadcasting. August. 1976. 

3 J. R. Dominick and M. C. Pearce. "Trends in Network Prime- 
Time Programming. \953-74." Journal of Communications. 
Winter 19^76. 

4 Ibid. 

5 Ibid. 

6 Ibid. 

7 Ibid. 

8 I ar/fO-. October 30. 1974. 

9 Ibid. 

10 Leonard Stem and George Eckstein, personal interviews, 
November 14. 1976. 

1 1 Time. September 20. 1967 p. 84. 

12 Variety. }u\y 14. 1976. p. 1. 



178 



13 James Monaco, "U.S. TV: The Great Spin-Off." Sight and 
Sound. Winter 1975-76. 

14 The ratio of adopted to rejected pilots has increased over the 
last few years, indicative of earl\ involvement by the 
networks; however, contracts are written (or only the first few 
episodes and frequent casualties now occur in the first half of 
the program season. 

15 Based on discussions with writers and producers, notably Ron 
Austin. Leonard Stern and George Eckstein. 

16 The status of appeals lo higher courts is at present unknown 
but the decision appears solid. It was observed that the FC( 
met with industry representatives on some 19 occasions. 

17 Symposium on Television K/o/t-nfc. Canadian Radio-Television 
Commission. Aug. 1975. pp. 141-144. 

18 The survey consisted of a poll of 200 adult television- viewers 
in March 1976. 

19 The Windsor Slur. June 14. 1976. p. 19. 

20 NBC. Violence in America, telecast January 5. 1977. 

21 Ty Guide. January 1-7. However, it should be noted that most 
time is now purcha.sed as spots across a spectrum of programs. 
Many advertising agencies buy sufficient spots across the 
various schedules to meet certain goals in terms of total viewer 
impressions based not on any discrimination of the content in 
which the spots are placed but simply on an aggregate of gross 
rating points or some demographic subset of these. A further 
evidence that broadcasters sell realized audience not the 
programs which attract an auidence. 

22 Ibid. 

23 The Glohe and Mail. January 5. 1977. 

24 This is from a tran,script of the Nov. 4. 1976 CRTC Public 
Hearing in Ottawa at which time CTV was seeking licence 
renewal for the ctv network. 

25 V. Porter. "TV Strategies and European Film Production." 
Sight and Sound. Summer. 1975. p. 164. 

26 This "head-on" programming strategy was remarked on by 
CTV at the Nov. 4. 1975 Public Hearing. 

27 For a detailed analysis of the independent program 
production industry in Canada, see Hugh Edmunds. "The 
Independent Production Industry with respect to English 
Language Programs for Broadcast in Canada." a study 
prepared et al. for the Federal Department of 
Communications. April 1976 (University of Windsor, The 
Centre for Canadian Communications Studies. April 1976). 

28 cun. Annual Report. 1973-74. 

29 Edmunds, op cit. 

30 77ic Glohc and Mail. Jan. 5, 1977. 

31 Ibid. 

32 Edmunds, et al., op cit; pp. 40-41. 

33 Department of Supply and Service, /'ilm Siudv Report 
(Ottawa, 1976). 

34 Secretary of State, A Leisure Study - Canada 1972 (Ottawa, 
1973). 

35 See. for example. Vernon M. Sparkes. "The Canadian 
Television Audience: A Study of Viewing Preferences and 
Attitudes," Communications Research Center, Syracuse 
University, May 1975; The Special Senate Committee on 
Mass Media ( 1970); The Canada Consulting Group to the 



CRTC (1 972): and a recent Canadian Institute of Public 
Opinion poll (1975). 

36 Ibid. 

Chapter 4 

1 Canada, BTOa(/fa.sMf/, Statutes of Canada. 1970. 

2 These figures are based on interpolations of CRTC statistics 
shown in its annual report for 1975-76 and statistics found in 
TV Basics 76-77 issued by the tvb. Although licenses have 
been issued tor franchise areas in Saskatchewan, figures for 
these areas have not been included since a number of 
problems have not been resolved with the Saskatchewan 
government and Sask Tel. 

3 These figures are based on the conventional cables designed 
for CATV systems to carry 0-300 MHz signals. At 6 .MHz per 
television channel, 50 (300/6) television channels are possible, 
but for various reasons 42 channels are the maximum 
allocated. Cable can be designed to carry higher frequencies 
than 300 MHz; however, cost rises and distance of 
transmission shortens. Since the UHF television stations 
operate in the 470-890 MHz band, these signals must be 
translated to either the "V" channels (54-88 MHz and 174-216 
MHz) or on the converter channels (non-broadcast channels) 
which are available in the remainder of the 0-300 MHz range, 
i.e. the mid-band channels 120-174 MHz for 9 channels (A. B, 
... I) and super-band channels 216-300 MHz for 14 channels 
(J, K, . . . W), and finally the sub-low band designated as 5.75 

- 47.75 MHz for 7 more channels (T7, T8, . . . TI3). The 
purpose of the converter is to tune in these mid-band and 
super-band channels on the television set, since it is not 
equipped to select these channels, but only the vhf and UHF 
channels. 

4 CRTC, "Regulations Respecting Broadcasting Receiving 
Undertakings." issued Nov. 26. 1975. effective Apr. I. 1976. 

5 Inferred from crtc statistics in its 1975-76 Annual Report. 

6 Urban densities between cities and areas in cities, vary 
considerably, e.g. Ottawa versus Calgary. The projection of 
about $150 per subscriber is based on two-thirds saturation 
and current costs of cabling. Older systems had much less 
capital investment and now have higher saturation rates. 

7 Robert E. Babe, Cable Television and Telecommunications in 
Canada: An Economic Analysis (East Lansing, Michigan: 
Bureau of Business and Economic Research. 1975), 

8 Ibid, 

9 Ibid. 

10 Woods. Gordon & Co,. "The Impact of Cable Television on 
the Canadian Broadcasting System." Report to the Canadian 
Cable Television .^ssoclation. May. 1975. 

1 1 CRTC. Public Announcement. Commercial Deletion. Ottawa. 
Jan. 21, 1977, 

12 A more definitive account of the alarming drop in viewing of 
Canadian programs is to be found in Hugh H. Edmunds et al., 
"The Independent Production Industry with respect to 
English Language Programs for Broadcast in Canada." 
(University of Windsor. Center for Canadian 
Communications Studies. 1976.) 

13 Ibid., citing Canadian Institute of Public Opinion, 

14 Ibid., citing Canadian Institute of Public Opinion. 

15 CBC, What the Canadian Public Think<:oiTcUvi\iimandofthe 



179 



Television Services Provided by ilie CBC. Research Department. 
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. February 1974. p. 113. 

16 There have been no .studies to determine or forecast how- 
much further the destruction of viewing Canadian programs 
will continue. Windsor might be indicative of how far the 
process will go. What is already apparent, however, is that our 
younger audience turns almost uniformly for entertainment to 
basic U.S. programming. If the violent content is damaging 
then this is what our young people are consuming to the 
exclusion of Canadian fare. It therefore matters little what 
standards or controls pertain to indigenous programs (and 
possibly render them even less competitive). 

17 CRTC, Policies Respecting Broadcasting Receiving 
Undertakings. Ottawa. Dec. 1975. 

18 Network One, or more formally All View Network One Inc.. 

began operations in May 1976 and has 85 per cent penetration 
of 1.419 units in the Toronto Crescent Town condominium 
complex. It offers a single channel pay-per-program service. 
To reach economic viability it is estimated to need 5.000 
subscribers. It operates as a licensed "cinema" by the Theatres 
Branch of the Ontario Government but does not come under 
any crtc regulations due to its closed circuit nature. Soft 
pornography or even X-rated films {Ein/naniielle) are included 
in the "menu". 

19 The Saskatchewan government has indicated its intention of 
wiring the ten largest cities bv Sask Tel and operating a closed 
circuit system - purchasing syndicated U.S. programs which 
in Canada would include current network programs. In this 
case the system could sell commericals into these programs. 
They have also made connections with Telemation Program 
Services (a large U.S. pay-TV supplier) for pay-TV product. 
With the political will to initially invest the public's money in 
this venture, it would appear to be economically sound but 
could cause havoc with the conventional broadcasters. Many 
of the Saskatchewan ideas would appear likely to achieve 
CRTC objectives far better, e.g. community service, than the 
CRTC has been capable of with its cable licensees. The federal 
Department of Communications has attempted to offer cable 
ownership to Sask Tel in e.xchange for federal control of 
content, but since all but one of Saskatchewan cities are not 
cabled, the province has the choice of options. 

20 The federal Department of Communications made an 
agreement on November 10. 1976 with Manitoba giving 
Manitoba Telephone Systems control of the cable hardware in 
return for agreement that Canada would havejurisdiction 
over broadcast-type programming including pay-TV. This 
common-carrier approach is filled with unresolved problems 
of which the crtc and the cable operators are only too well 
aware. 

21 See Chapter 5 for an account of optic fibres. In essence they 
offer in the future to sharply reduce the cost of wired 
broadband communications. 

22 FCC. Suhscripiion Television. Information Bulletin # 16. 
(Washington. Feb. 1976). 

23 See rcc. Rules and Regulations 73.643. "General Operating 
Requirements." 

24 Hugh Edmunds. "Pay-TV Study with Emphasis on the 
Implications ofSTV". Interim Report to Department of the 
Secretary of State. Ottawa. May 1976. 

25 Ibid. It should be noted that over-the-air pay-TV could spill 
over into Canada. It might aLso be difficult to control "boxes" 
which use a card billing system. The threat of this is some time 



away since the Fcc regulations permit stv licences in the 
largest cities and until this is changed spill-over will only 
aflTect Windsor. Buffalo has an insufficient number of existing 
television stations to either add or convert a LHP station to 

STV. 

26 Hugh Edmunds. "Report on Pav-TV with Pay-per- channel 
Theoretical .Model." Department of the Secretary of State, 
Ottawa, August 1976. This document contains many 
quotations from pay-TV entrepreneurs warning strongly of 
viewer antagonism to unappreciated content and the necessity 
to program to a low common denominator of taste. 

27 Ibid. 

28 The marketing of feature film is based on definite patterns of 
release. First movie theatres, then pay-TV. then network 
television, followed by syndication to television stations, and 
somewhat concurrently to the latter 16 mm release to colleges, 
film societies, et cetera. Sometimes films are re-released to 
cinemas following pay-TV. The 3-10 rule implies that a film in 
the seven-year period commencing at three years from its first 
relea.se may not be used on pay-TV. Actually the release to 
pay-TV seems to take place in a "window" roughly six months 
to 18 months from original release. 

29 R. Noll, M. J. Peck, and J. J. McGowan. Economic Aspects of 
Television ^egu/a(/o«,s (Washington. Brookines Institute. 1973) 
p. 270. 

30 On March 25. 1977 the U.S. Court of Appeals, as the result of 
a unanimous three-judge decision, ruled that siphoning has to 
occur before it can be proved to exist. Accordingly, the judges 
said the FCC regulations concerning the siphoning of movies 
and sports programs are invalid. The 105-pagejudgment is 
felt by experts to be broad enough to thwart a Supreme Court 
review. A result of this decision will be to make such films as 
American Graffiti. Butch Cassidy. Young Frankenstein. The 
Exorcist and The Sting available to pay-TV before they will 
have aged ten years. Experts also believe sports programs may 
receive legislative attention by Congress. This ruling can be 
seen as a removal of "prior restraint" consistent with First 
Amendment freedoms and similar in many respects to the 
Ferguson decision on the "Family Hour". 



180 



A Selected Bibliography 

I - Articles. Journals 

"Ad Leaders Urge Sell-Restraint on Television Violence." 
Broadcasiing. Sept. 25. 1972. p. 24. 

"Background: 25 Videodisc Systems." en Report: Screen 
Dif;eu. April. 1976. 

Baer, Douglas. "The Public Interest." Special Section to 
Cinema Canada. Sponsored by Council of Canadian Filiti- 
makers. "Pay-TV." August, 1976. 

HoxoJJice. Various issues. 

Boyle. Harrv J. "Premium Television for Canada: A 
Partnership in Production." Special Section to Cinema 
Canada. Sponsored by Council of Canadian Filmmakers. 
"Pay-TV." August. 1976. 

"Comparison: Philips/MC a vs. Rt a Videodisc Systems." 

forftfv. June 1. 1976. 

Co.\. Kirwan. "The Critical Questions." Special Section to 
Cinema Canada. Sponsored by Council of Canadian Film- 
makers. "Pay-TV." August. 1976. 

Dawson. Anthony. "Motion Picture Production in Canada." 
Hollymwd Quarlcrly I950( I ). 83-99. 

de Cardona. Elizabeth. "Multinational Television." ym/r/w/o/' 
Commimicaiion. 1975(2). 122-127. 

Dominick. Joseph R. and Millard C. Pearce. "Trends in 

Network Programming. \95'i-74." Journal of 

Communicalion. 1975(1). 70-80. 
Edmunds. Hugh. "The Big Picture." Special Section to Cinema 

Canada. Sponsored by Council of Canadian Filmmakers. 

"Pay-TV." August. 1976. 

Elkin. Frederick. "Communications Media and Identity 
Formation in Canada." in Benjamin D. Singer (ed.). 
Communications in Canadian Society. Toronto: Copp Clark. 
1975,223-243. 

"Family Viewing After a Year: What Effects on Television 
Programs?" Broadcasiing. Mar. 22, 1976. p. 97. 

Financial Times. Various issues. 

Gordon. David. "Whv the Movie Majors are Major." Sight and 
Sound. Autumn, 1973. 194-196, 

Guback. Thomas. "Pay-TV in the United States: 

Contradictions in Search of a Policy." Special section to 
Cinema Canada. Sponsored bv Council of Canadian 
Filmmakers. "Pay-TV." August. 1976. 

"Film as International Business." Joi/rna/o/ 
Communications. 1 974(1 ). 90- 1 1 . 

"The Impact of Pay Cable on Motion Picture 
Theatres." Submitted to the National .Association of Theatre 
Owners. New York City. April 28. 1976. 

Happe. Bernard. "General Principles of the Videodisc." l^ideo 
and Film .Magazine. April, 1976. 

Hollywood Reporter. Various issues. 

Hurley. Neil P. "University Satellite for Latin America." 
Journal of Communication. 1976(1). 110-119. 

"J. Walter I'hompson's Johnston Says Violent Television 
Should gel Sponsor's Axe." Broadcasting. June 14, 1976, 33- 
40. 

Johnson. A. W. "The Facts of Television in The Seventies." 



Special section to Cinema Canada. Sponsored by Council of 
Canadian Filmmakers. "Pay-TV." August, 1976. 

Johnston, Chris. "Pay Television and crtc Jurisdiction." 
Special section to Cinema Canada. Sponsored by Council of 
Canadian Filmmakers. "Pay-TV." August, 1976. 

Jorgenson, P. O. "Economic Threat and Authoritarianism in 
Television Programs: \')5Q-\91i" Psychological Reports. 
1975(2), 1153-4. 

Jowetl, Garth S. "American Domination of the Motion Picture 
Industry: Canada as a Test Case." Journal of the University 
Film Association. 1975(3). 58-61. 

Kittross. John. "The Content of Network Television Prime- 
time Special Programming." Journal of Broadcasting. 
Summer. 1970. 

Kline. F. Gerald. "Media Time Budgeting as a Function of 
Demographics and Life S{y\e." Journalism Quarterly. 
1971(2), 211-221. 

Lesser, G. S. ".Applications of Psychology to Television 
Programming: Formulation of Program Objectives." 
.-imerican Psychologist. Vol. 31, Feb. 1976. 135-6. 

LInd. Philip B. "Hotel Pay-TV." Special section to Cinema 
■Canada, sponsored bv Council of Canadian Filmmakers. 
"Pay-TV." August. 1976. 

Manning. W. G. and B. M. Owen. "Television Rivalry and 
Network Power. Puhhc Policy. Winter. 1976. 

McLuhan, Marshall. "It Will Probably End the Motor Car." 
Special section to Cinema Canada. Sponsored by Council of 
Canadian Filmmakers. "Pay-TV." August. 1976. 

Meyer, T. P. and J. A. Anderson. "Media violence research." 
journal of Broadcasting. Fall. 1973,447-458. 

Mennie. Don. "Television on a Silver Platter." if.ee Spectrum. 

Vol. 12. No. 8. August. 1975. 34-39. 
Monaco, James. "U.S. television: The Great Spin-OIT." Sight 

and Sound Winter. 1975-76. 
"The Movie Television Hates and Loves." Time. Dec. 13. 1976. 

62-63. 
"NCCB (National Citizens Committee for Broadcasting) Ties 

Together .Advertisers and Violent Programs." Broadcasting. 

August 2. 1976. p. 26. 
The New York Times. Various issues. 
Palmer. E. L. "Applications of Psychology to Television 

Proerammina: Program Execution." .American Psychologi.si 

Voir3l. Feb.''l976.l37-8. 
"Panels.Predictions and Pornography-Yet Another Look at 

the Future of Video Discs-A Ten Year Projection." 

Broadcast Shina^ement Engineering Magazine. October. 

1976. 
Pearson. Peter. "A Modest Proposal." Special section to 

Cinema Canada. Sponsored bv Council of Canadian 

Filmmakers. "Pay-TV." August. 1976. 
Peers. Frank W. "Broadcasting and National Unity." in 

Benjamin D. Singer (ed.). Communications in Canadian 

S,Kiety. Toronto: Copp Clark, 1975, 215-228. 
Pekurny. R. G. and L. D. Bart. "Sticks and Bones: A Survey of 

Network Affiliate Decision-making." yonr/w/o/ 

Broadcasting. Vol. 19. Fall, 1975,427-37. 

Porter. V. "Television Strategies and European Film 
Production." 5i^?A/ <jw/ 5oM/ij/. Summer, 1974. 



181 



Pringle, Ashley. "A Methodology for Television Analysis with 
Reference to the Drama Series." Screen. Journal of the 
Society for Education in Film and Television. Summer. 
1972. i 16-128. 

Sage, Lorna. "Kojak and Co." Sight and Sound. Summer. 1975. 
183-5. 

Sauve, Jeanne. "Pay Television Must Develop Canadian 
Production." Special section to Cinema Canada. Sponsored 
by Council of Canadian Filmmakers. "Pay-TV." August. 
1976. 

Slaby. Ronald G. el al. "Television Violence and its Sponsors." 
Journal of Communication. Winter 1976. Vol. 2(1). 88-96. 

Stanton, David. "Television Piracy and the Border War: A 
Chronology of Dramatic Highlights, \91\-15." Interface. 
1975(3). 2-3. 

Spry, Graham. "The Fourth Crisis in Canadian Broadcasting." 
Special section to Cinema Canada. Sponsored bv Council of 
Canadian Filmmakers. ""Pay-TV." August. 1976. 

Taylor. John Russell. "Movies for a Small Screen." Sight and 
Sound. Spring. 1975. 113-115. 

The Globe and Mail. Various issues 

Television Guide. Various issues. 

Variety. Various issues. 

Varis, Tapio. "Global Traffic in Television."" Journal of 
Communication. 1974(1). 102-109. 

"Violence Count Finds Decline in Family Time. Nowhere 
Else." Broadcasting. Apr. 5. 1976, p. 22. 

Walstad. David. "The Family Hour- Whose Idea? Whose 
Family?" Television Quarterly. Winter 1975, vol. 12(4). 5-15. 

Watson. Colin. "The Cable Viewpoint."" Special section to 
Cinema Canada. Sponsored by Council of Canadian 
Filmmakers. ""Pay-TV." August. 1976. 

Weisberg. Robert and Russell Kays. ""Two .American 

Experiences."' Special section to Cinema Canada. Sponsored 
by Council of Canadian Filmmakers. ""Pay-TV." August, 
1976. 

"Lear Blames Network Execs for Television Violence." 
Advertising Age. May 3, 1976, p. 2. 

Wood. Robert D. "'Why Re-runs?" Television Quarterly. Fall. 
1972. vol. 10(1), 68-72. 

2 - Books 

Bagdikian. Ben H. The Information Machines. New York: 
Harper and Row. 1971. 

Drabinsky. Garth. Motion Pictures and the Arts in Canada. 
London: Hogarth Press. 1964. 

Ellul. Jacques. The Technological Societv. New York: Knopf. 
1964. 

English. H. Edward (ed.). Telecommunications for Canada.- An 
Interface of Business and Government. Toronto: Methuen. 
1973. 

Fuller. R. Buckminster. No More Secondhand God and Other 
Writings. Carbondale. III.: Southern Illinois University 
Press. 1963. 

Grant. Peler S. Broadcasting and Cable Television Regulatory 
Handbook. Two volumes. Toronto: Law Society of Upper 
Canada. 1973. 



International Motion Picture Almanac. New York: Quigley 
Publishing Co.. 1976. 

Mayer. Michael F. The Film Industries. New York: Hastings 
House, 1973. 

McLuhan. Marshall. Understanding Media. New York: 
McGraw-Hill. 1964. 

90 Million Selworks - The Videodisc. Videodisc Corporation, 
1976. 

Noll. Roger G.; Merton J. Peck and John J. McGowan. 
Economic Aspects of Television Regulation. Washington: 
Brookings Institution. 1973. 

Owen. Bruce, et al. Television Economics. Toronto: Heath and 
Co., 1974. 

Shea. Albert A. Broadcasting the Canadian Way. Montreal: 
Harvest House. 1963. 

Singer. B.D. (ed). Communications in Canadian Society. 
Toronto: Copp Clark. 1975. 

Television Bureau of Canada. The Effects of c.iTV on Television 
Viewing. JoToMo: TvB, 1969. 

Toffler, Alvin. Future Shock. New York: Random House. 1970. 

Weiner. Norbert. Cybernetics. 2nd ed. Cambridge. Mass.: The 
MIT Press. 1969. 

Weir, E. Austin. The Stnigglefor National Broadcasting in 
Canada. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. 1965. 

3 - Government Publications 

Canada. Department of Communication. Instant World. A 
report on Telecommunications in Canada (Gotheb Report). 
Ottawa, 1971. 

. Department of Communications. "Videodisc and 



Education." An examination of the technology. June. 1975. 
. Department of Supply and Services. Bureau of 



Management Consulting. Film Study Report. (Tompkins 
Report) Ottawa. 1976. 

- Canada. Minister of Communications. Proposals for a 



Communications Policy for Canada: A Position Paper of the 
Government of Canada. Ottawa. 1973. 

Parliament. Senate. Special Senate Committee on the 

Mass Media. Report. Ottawa. 1970. 

Privy Council. "'Direction to the CRTC on ownership by 

Provinces or their Agents." PC 1970-992, June 4, 1970. 
soR/70-241. Canada Gazette, part II, p. 621. June 24, 1970 

Secretary of State. A Leisure Study - Canada. 1972. 

Ottawa, 1976. 

Statistics Canada. Motion Picture Theatres and Film 

Distributors. 1974. Ottawa. 1976. 

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. ".Audience Research 
Report: A report of opinions and research studies on the 
function of violence." Toronto: CBC, 1959. 

. Research Department. Dimensions of .Audience 



Response to Television Programs in Canada - or What 
Canadians Expect from the Programs They Watch. Ottawa. 

January. 1975. 

. Research Department. "What the Canadian Public 



Thinks of Television and of Television Services Provided by 
the CBC." Ottawa. 1974. 



182 



Canadian Film Development Corporation. Annual Report. 
Various issues. 

Canadian Radio-Television Commission. /I Resource forihe 
.4(7/11' Community. Ottawa, 1974. 

Annual Report. Various issues. 

. "Cable Television Policy and Draft Regulations." crtc 



Announcement, ['ebruary 17, 1975. 

"Canadian Broadcasting - A Single System." Policy 



Statement on Cable Television. Ottawa. July 16. 1971. 
"Feature Motion Pictures on Cable Television 



Systems." (R re Announcement. December 5. 1973. 

Hearings and Proceedings. Ottawa. November. 1975. 

"Pay Television." crk Announcement. October 3. 



1972. 



-Canadian Radio-Television Commission. Policies 



Respecting Broadcast Receivini; Undcrlakini;s iCahle 
Television). Ottawa. Dec. 16. 1975. 

. Radio Frequencies are Public Property. Public 



announcement and decision of the Commission on the 
applications for renewal of The Canadian Broadcasting 
Corporation's television and radio licenses. Report on the 
public hearing. Ottawa, March 31. 1974. 

. Symposium on Television Violence. Kingston, August, 



1975. 

Quebec. Statutes. Quebec Broadcasting Bureau .Act. Chap. 17. 
1969. (As amended by Chap. 58, 1972). 

Saskatchewan. Cable Television in Saskatchewan. A 

presentation by the government of Saskatchewan to the 
Canadian Radio-Television Commission Hearing. Regina, 
Saskatchewan, February 1976. 

United Nations Educational. Scientilic and Cultural 
Organization. "Broadcasting from Space." (Reports and 
papers on Mass Communication). Pans. France. 1972. 

U.S. Congress. Hou.se of Representatives. "Cable Television: 
Promise versus Regulatorv Performace." Prepared by the 
stalVfor the use of the Subcommittee on Communications of 
the Committee in Interstate and Foreign Commerce. 
January, 1976. 

Senate. "Communicatums Pay Cable Television 

Industry." Hearings before the Subcommittee on Antitrust 
and Monopoly of the Committee on the Judiciary. 
May /July 197'5. 

4 - Reports, I'apcrs 

Babe. Robert E. "Cable Television and lelccommunications >.i 
Canada: An Economic Analysis." East Lansing. Michig?.ii: 
Bureau of Business and Economic Research. 1975. 

"The Canadian Radio-Television Commission, 1968- 

1975: An Assessment of Ends and Means." Unpublished 
paper. November. 1975. 

. "An FA'onomic Analysis of the Impact of Cable on 



Television Broadcasting Stations." Paper prepared for the 
Department of Communications. 1974. Mimeographed. 

Bureau of Broadcast Measurement. "Area Reports." 1975-76. 

BBM 7V/tTi.W(«i. Various issues. 

Radio and Television Data. Various issues. 



Bureau of Broadcast Measurement. Television Network Report. 
Various issues. 

Burns Fry Ltd. "Investment Notes-Pay-TV in Canada." June 

24. 1976. 

Canada Consulting Group. "A Policy for Improving Canadian 
Television Programming." A report presented to Pierre 
Juneau. Chairman. Canadian Radio-Television 
Commission. July 18. 1972. 

Canadian Broadcasting League. "The Crisis in Canadian 
Broadcasting." Notes for an address by the Honourable 
Hugh J. Faulkner. Secretary of State to the Canadian 
Broadcasting League Conference. Halifax, August 10-12, 
1976. 

Clark, David G. and William B. Blankenburg. "Trends in 
Violent Content in Selected Mass Media." Television and 
Social Behaviour. Vol. I. Washington: U.S. Government 
Printing Office. 1971. 

"Communciation Satellite Systems Technology." (.m.\a 
Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics. Vol. 19). R. M. 
Marsten (ed.). New York: Academic Press. 1966. 

"The Future Begins," First International Videodisc 

Programming Conference. New York. Nov. 1976. Papers. 

Gayfer. Margaret. "Youth and Media: Canadian Report." 
Report to the Youth Programme of the Commonwealth 
Secretariat. Toronto: International Council for Adult 
Education, 1975. Mimeographed. 

Gerbner. George. "Violence in Television Drama: Trends and 
Symbolic Functions." Television and Social Behaviour. Vol. I 
Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office. 1971. 

Edmunds. Hugh. "Pay-TV Study with Emphasis on the 
Implications of srv." Interim Report to Department of the 
Secretary of State. Ottawa. May 1876. 

"Report on Pay-TV with Pay-per-channel Theoretical 

Model." Department of the Secretary of State. Ottawa. 
August, 1976. 

Linton. James et al. "Canadian Viewing Habits." University of 
Windsor. July 1976. The Centre for Canadian 
Communication Studies. 

LoSciuto. Leonard A. "A National Inventory of Television 
Viewing Behaviour" in E. A. Rubinstein. G. A. Comstock. 
and J. P. Murray (eds.). Television and Social Behaviour Vol. 
VI. Washington. D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 
1971. 1-32. 

National Association of Broadcasters. "Questions and 

Answers about Pay Cable and Free-TV." Washington. 1976. 

Opinion Research Corporation. Incidence of Motion Picture 
Attendance Study for the Motion Picture Association of 
America. New York. 1976. 

Pritchard, W. L. "Trends in Communications Satellites." Paper 
1 A.2. lEliE International Convention. New York, March 22- 

25, 1971. 

Simon Eraser University. "Potential Effects of Pay-TV 
Development on Canadian Television Program and Film 
Production and Dislnbution Capabilities." .A final report 
submitted to Department of Communications. Ottawa, by 
Telecommunications Research Group. May 5, 1976. 

Sloan Commission. "On the Cable; The Television of 



183 



Abundance." Report on Cable Communications. New- 
York: McGraw-Hill. 1971. 

Social Science Research Council. "A Profile of Television 
Violence." A report submitted by the Committee on 
Television and Social Behaviour of the SSRC. 

Sparkes. Vernone M. "The Canadian Television Audience: A 
Study of Viewing Preference and Attitudes." 
Communications Research Center. Syracuse University, 
May, 1975. 

Television Bureau of Canada. Television Basics. Various Issues. 

Edmunds, Hugh et al. "The Independent Production Industry 
with Respect to English Language Programs for Broadcast 
in Canada." Three volumes. University of Windsor, The 
Centre for Canadian Communication Studies, April, 1976. 

Weiss. Elaine F. "U.S. Television and Canadian Identity" 
(Freedom of Information Center Report No. 324). 
University of Missouri, 1974. 

Woods, Gordon & Co. "The Impact of Cable Television on the 
Canadian Broadcasting System." Report to the Canadian 
Cable Television Association, May 1975. 

5 - Theses, Dissertations 

Goldstein. Kenneth J. "Cable Television in Manitoba." Thesis, 
Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University; 
Evanston, Illinois, 1972. 

Kiefl. John Barrett. "A Study of Mass Communication; Cable 
Television in Canada." Master's Thesis, Boston; Boston 
University, 1973. 

McCabe. Edward J. "Se.x and Violence in Mass Media." 
Thesis. Washington University, 1975. 

Milavsky. Barry M. "An .Assessment of Telesat Canada and its 
Canadian Domestic Satellite System with Respect to 
Canada's National Objectives." Master's Thesis. Annenberg 
School of Communications, University of Pennsylvania, 
1972. 

Smith, W.A. "A Description of the Organization, Production 
Process, and Production Environment of a Dramatic 
Television Series." Ph.D. dissertation. University of 
Southern California. 1972. 



184 




Gordon B. Thompson 



Bell Northern Research 
Ottawa, Ontario. 



Contents 

Introduction Page 187 

Chapter 1 Technology 189 

2 Responsive Mass Media 192 

3 Diffuse Benefit Systems 195 

4 Convivial Mass Media 198 

5 Culture Defence 203 

6 Conclusion 205 

References 206 



The views expressed in this report are those of the author and 
do not necessarily reflect (hose of Bell Northern Research, 
Northern Telecom or Bell Canada Limited. 



Introduction 

TTiis report deals with potential future developments in 
electronic mass media. New developments could greatly 
diminish the value of concerted deliberations on 
violence in communications media, if such deliberations 
are conducted without some attention to potential 
future developments. 

There are many alternatives that may evolve, some of 
which may increase the problems associated with 
violence, and some decrease them. Several factors will 
atTect the choice of these alternatives, amongst which 
are, new technology, entrepreneurial opportunity, and 
explicit policy decisions of government. This report will 
deal first with the technical aspects and then focus on 
the other factors. The technologies that will be treated 
include fibre optics as a means of transmission, satel- 
lites, large-screen television, videodiscs, and micropro- 
cessors. The scheme for development of this material is 
self-evident, but the material relating to the economic 
and policy questions is organized in a unique fashion, 
and requires some explanation. 

It is common in making any analysis of the future of 
communications to base that analysis solely on the 
potential applications of new technologies. Today this is 
likely to produce fallacies for two reasons. First, we 
have such a rich technological smorgasbord from which 
to choose that almost anything is possible. Second, it is 
the regulatory and business underpinnings that really 
decide what will happen. Therefore, after the review of 
the technology, the basis of the analysis is not the flashy 
new technologies, but rather economic and social 
attractiveness. 

The three sections following the technology section 
are related by four increasingly prominent themes. 
First, the extent to which the benefits are diffused 
throughout society tends to increase from section to 
section. Second, technological complexity increases 
from section to section. Third, conviviality, in lllich's 
sense,' also increases throughout the three sections. 
Finally, and certainly not independently of the 
preceding three themes, there is an increasingly long 
time period before the introduction of each successive 
innovation. Difluseness of benefit, technological 
complexity, conviviality, and length of time to intro- 
duction all increase over the three sections. 

The more concentrated the economic benefits of an 
enterprise appear to be, the easier that enterprise is to 
perceive; such an enterprise has a higher probability of 
being developed than if the benefits were more diffused. 
As this notion of concentration of benefit is used to 
order the sections, with the most concentrated examples 
leading ofl', the pressure on the entrepreneur can be seen 
to fall from section to section. Barring intervention, the 
time required for implementation is seen to increase 
through the three sections. 

The section on responsive mass media describes 
systems that require little or no technological devel- 



opment to bring them into existence. TTie diffuse benefit 
systems require somewhat more technological develop- 
ment, while the concepts contained in the Convivial 
Mass Media section require a considerable techno- 
logical effort before they can come to pass. However, 
none of the technological developments that form the 
basis of the systems described need anything more than 
sophisticated refinement. In the words of the Six Million 
Dollar Man, "We have the technology." It needs only 
refinement and multiplication. 

Ivan Illich defines a tool as being convivial when 
ordinary people can find utility in that tool. A 
population that is submerged under the impact of the 
mass marketing of culture surely cannot describe the 
tools that are used to effect this submersion as being 
convivial. TTie following three sections are ordered so 
that conviviality in lllich's sense increases from one 
section to the next. Ilhch's concept of conviviality is 
described more fully in the section devoted to convivial 
mass media. 

The specific technology that is used to deliver 
communication services matters little. What really 
counts is the set of relationships among all the 
producers of content, the distributors, the exhibitors, 
the regulators, and the ultimate consumers. The social 
and economic infrastructure supporting a service is 
more compelling than the mere technology employed 
by the service. This is amply demonstrated in the 
Responsive Mass Media section, where the perils of 
pay-TV become considerably magnified when its billing 
system is connected into a widely available electromc 
funds transfer system. This change in the organizational 
infrastructure, and not in the technology, leads to 
opportunities for super-intensive economic activity of 
such magnitude as to be downnghl alarming. 

Through specific intervention, a government can 
significantly influence the nature of a medium. The 
proposals described in the Diffu.se Benefit Systems 
section can supplant the more virulent pay-Tv schemes 
only when accompanied by a strong expression of the 
collective will. Generally, the more diffuse the benefits, 
the greater the need for intervention. However, inter- 
vention carries with it the heavy responsibility of 
accepting downstream responsibility for unexpected 
consequences and missed opportunities. Given the 
technological complexity and profound socio-economic 
significance of communications and information 
technology in a society in transition from an industrial 
to an information economy, few people are properly 
prepared even to appreciate the issues involved. 

The technology that is likel\ to produce the most 
significant long-term social and economic impacts is the 
large-scale integration of semi-conductor circuits, 
especially the inexpensive microprocessor chip. 
Dramatic cuts in both size and costs of very complex 
electrical circuitry have been achieved. For example, 
the heart of a computer now comes on a single wafer 



187 



that IS smaller than a thumbnail, and can be purchased 
for well under thirtv dollars. 

This development leads to the possibility of the intel- 
ligent terminal. Television has to be viewed as a system 
that emplovs ignorant terminals. The television set 
slavishly foUows the dictates of the incoming signal, 
storing nothing and processing nothing; m essence, it is 
a completelv ignorant device. Large-scale integration of 
semi-conductor circuitry has made it possible to include 
a considerable amount of "smarts" in such things as 
television games and the like. It is likely that this 
technology will have far more impact on future media 
than all the transmission developments put together. In 
the days of the buegv. four-lane highways would have 
made little sense, and they would have produced little 
change. It was not until the device that the user inter- 
faced with directly, the automobile, was developed that 
the transportation revolution could get under way. 
Similarly, in communications, the devices with which 
the user'directlv interfaces, rather than the supporting 
transmission media, are the agents of change. 

As yet. the television games, the sophisticated graphic 
terminals . et cetera, have not been connected together 
I so that you and I could play pong together, while you 
' are at your house and I am at mine, for example. Fhai 
shouldn't take too long to happen. When it does, we 
have the beeinnings of the convivial mass medium that 
could provide considerable relief from the to.xicity of 
television. 

The section entitled Culture Defence deals with 
strategies that might be invoked to make Canadian- 
produ'ced television material more appeahng. and so 
give it an advantage over imported material. This 
section breaks the'analytical threads that tie the 
previous three sections'together and is really included as 
an admission of the limitations that may force us to 
think about media in terms of defence rather than 
thinkina about new media. We may not be able to build 
the future that would appeal in most to us, but we may 
be able to erect some reasonably effective defences to 
make a less desirable future more endurable. 



188 



Chapter One 

Technology 



Several technological developments are treated in later 
sections, where these technologies bear upon the devel- 
opment of specific media examples. The microprocessor 
and digitization of the telephone network are so treated 
in the Convivial Mass Media section. This leaves many 
popular technological notions unaddressed. It is the 
purpose of this section to deal briefly with these 
technologies. 

Fibre Optics 

The transmission of television signals has always been a 
problem. Electrical frequencies generated in scanning 
the video image range from zero to several million hertz. 
The lower frequencies relate to making the screen 
totally black for a few seconds, while the very high 
frequencies control the fine-grain detail of the image. 
Both the average brightness and the fine detail are 
necessary to produce satisfactory pictures. 

The range of frequencies required for good television 
signals is several hundred times as great as that required 
for high-fidelity sound reproduction. It is this range of 
frequencies, or bandwidth requirement, that has posed 
the major problem in the transmission of television 
images in the past. 

Since the early days of television a number of techno- 
logical developments have eased the problem consider- 
ably. The transistor is but one example. However, 
decisions were made during those early days that have 
remained today, and in some ways restrict the quality of 
the images we receive. 

The broadband television signal can be transmitted 
down a cable in two ways. The actual signal frequencies 
can be sent, and the resulting signal is called a bass- 
band signal. This technique is used throughout the 
television statuin lor the internal handling of the signal. 
Generally, a bass-band television signal in a television 
studio has frequency components that extend to ten 
million hertz, and the pictures that can be seen on the 
television-station picture monitors clearly demonstrate 
the picture quality such a broadband signal can 
produce. 

It IS much easier to transmit a broadband signal when 
it IS piggybacked on a very high-frequency carrier which 



It modulates or controls. In effect, the frequencies of the 
original signal are merely shifted upwards. A bandwidth 
of five megahertz at bass band is very much harder to 
deal with than the same bandwidth shifted up 100 
megahertz. 

Ordinary wires cannot be used to convey signals 
where there are such high-frequency components 
becau.se of the losses and reflections that such primitive 
techniques introduce. Special cables, called coaxial 
cables, were developed that largely overcame the 
difficulties encountered with ordinary wires. A coaxial 
cable, even when specially designed, is far from being 
an ideal transmission means for television signals, 
whether at bass band or when carried on some high- 
frequency earner, for these cables have a loss that is 
dependent on the frequency being sent. The higher 
frequencies are more attenuated than the lower, and this 
difference is temperature-sensitive. 

A television signal, consisting of a wide range of 
frequencies, shows serious degradation if either the 
amplitude or the phase of some of these frequencies is 
altered with respect toothers. In high fidelity there are 
tone controls that alter the system's amplitude response 
to various frequencies. The difference can be perceived 
through mere listening. Phase differences do not 
produce any perceived effect on the ear. but they 
seriously atTect what we see in a television picture. The 
problem of transmitting bass-band signals any distance 
over coaxial cables relates to the problems of 
maintaining accurate equalization of both pha.se and 
amplitude characteristics under changing environ- 
mental conditions. It is difficult to build in signals that 
will not aftect the picture but which can be used to 
regulate auiomaticallv the equalization of amplitude 
loss and phase change over the required bandwidth. 
Ihis problem becomes much easier w hen the signals are 
boosted in frequency, as is the case in cable television 
systems. 

Enter fibre optics. 

Very thin glass fibres can be produced that virtually 
eliminate all the problems outlined above. The lo.ss of a 
good fibre-opiic cable is virtually independent of 
frequency, and there is no phase problem. Instead of 



189 



sending electrical signals down a complex mechanical 
structure that must be protected from the environment, 
for the coaxial cable is both temperature and moisture- 
sensitive, a modulated light signal is piped along the 
glass strand. The spaces between repeater amplifiers 
used to compensate for the transmission medium's 
losses are greater with fibre optics than with coaxial 
cable, leading to some significant savings. Bass-band 
signals can be carried for considerable distances 
without significant degradation. This means that studio- 
quality signals could be delivered into our homes 
instead of the poor quality pictures we now receive, 
which are so limited by the basic transmission decisions 
made decades ago, before transistors and fibre optics. 

There is a problem, however, in the conversion of the 
electrical signal into the luminous one. This must be 
done so that there is no perceptible amplitude, 
frequency or phase distortion of the signal. Since this 
process is involved every time the signal must be 
reinforced at the repeaters, the distortion effects of 
many applications of this process can be involved in 
any practical system. The present limitations on the 
ability of fibre optics to have any significant impact on 
our television lives are in the electro-optic transducers, 
rather than in the fibres themselves. Research in this 
area is producing better and better solutions, but there 
is still a long way to go before a reliable system can be 
implemented at costs approaching present coaxial 
techniques. 

The present proposals for fibre systems, recognizing 
the real limitations of the transducers, usually involve a 
dedicated fibre connecting each subscriber back to a 
switching facility, rather than the configuration 
employed in conventional coaxial systems, where the 
switching between channels is actually accomplished in 
the subscriber's equipment. This change in configu- 
ration alone represents an increase in cost, but provides 
the potential for many more choices, and freedom from 
interference. Such a dedicated fibre cable could carry 
several television signals, the telephone, and the data 
requirements for a single household, all in one neat 
package. 

Not to be dismissed are the problems associated with 
the handling of a cable composed of thousands of 
minute hair-sized glass fibres. The old copper wire 
telephone cable causes enough problems when inadvert- 
ently dug up. Splicing one of these fibre-optic cables in 
a howling snowstorm is a considerable problem, but 
solutions even to this are available today. 

Perhaps the most significant cost factor in any cabled 
distribution system is the cost of placing the cable, 
whether it be fibre or coaxial. The right-of-way and 
ditching costs generally exceed the equipment costs. 
Strangely enough, it is this fact that is producing the 
push to develop the fibre-optics technology. The cost of 
duct space for telephone cables in metropolitan areas is 
so exorbitant that reclamation of space through the 
substitution of fibre optics for copper cables, in the face 



of increasing communications loads, is very good 
economic sense. The plain old telephone is pushing this 
new technology very hard. 

Large-Screen Television 

Several systems are now available that project the 
television image onto a large screen. The impact of such 
an image is quite different from that associated with a 
regular television picture tube, particularly if the picture 
is of high quality. 

The combination of high-quality television signal 
distribution through the use of fibre-optics and large- 
screen projection television is quite exciting. There is 
the same potential here that worked in the record 
business with the introduction of high fidelity. 

Satellites 

Satellites can be used in two significantly different ways 
in connection with television. They can be used to 
connect the head ends of local distribution networks, or 
they can be used for direct broadcast into the home. 
The former makes some sense, the latter is in many 
ways retrogressive. 

For a given satellite power, there is a basic 
relationship between picture quality and the size of the 
receiving anterma. The smaller the antenna, the poorer 
the picture in terms of both noise and bandwidth. A 
shared-satellite receiving facility that feeds a local distn- 
bution network could afl^ord to choose a larger antenna 
than each subscriber would select on his own. Direct 
broadcasting from a satellite into the home seems the 
less attractive option, considering cost, picture quality, 
and variety of choice. 

Videodisc 

After many years of press reports, it seems as if the 
videodisc may soon actually happen. It has a much 
enhanced probability of success compared to the earlier 
video player systems based on film; the e\r of Dr. Peter 
Goldmark, for example. The lower cost of producing 
copies is the significant improvement brought by this 
technology. However, this does not assure the video 
record player of a future. 

Television material is not like the content of phono- 
graph records, and analogies should be built with care. 
In the Gestalt psychologist's jargon, music is ground 
while television is figure. Music from your hi-fi can be a 
pleasant accompaniment to many other tasks. 
Television is more demanding, and only the simplest 
tasks can be done better when accompanied by televi- 
sion. The content of the videodisc will have to solve this 
problem if it is going to be used more than once or 
twice. Conventional television makes poor content for a 
personal video library, for most television is produced 
specifically to be seen only once. A new content is 
needed for the videodisc. Unfortunately, the most likely 
candidate is pornographic material, if the technology is 
limited to playing out through a television set. 



190 



There is more hope if the disc, capable of recording 
vast quantities of information, and of dumping it in a 
very short time, is used in ciinnection with the devices 
described in the Convivial Mass Media section. In fact, 
not only is there hope, but this may be the book of the 
future, for such a combination of technologies provides 
the means of making stimulating interactive educational 
and entertainment material available at very low cost. 



191 



Chapter Two 

Responsive Mass Media 



Responsible mass media are those media, with a large 
penetration into the population, which are capable of 
eliciting some form of virtually instantaneous and 
simultaneous response from large numbers of the 
medium's users. In the minds of most people, "Two-way 
television" is such a medmm. However, the term "Two- 
wav television" is too general to be of much real use. For 
the purposes of this analysis, we shall be concerned with 
systems where the viewer of television material can, 
when told to do so, make some kind of response that is 
detected and registered by the response system. Such a 
response system, in combination with a mass distri- 
bution medium, such as television, radio, or newspa- 
pers, produces a responsive mass medium. 

Two classes of response system appear to be 
emerging. The separation between the two classes is 
based on the degree of their ability to identify 
individual respondents. In the one class, made up of 
anonymous-respondent response systems, the identity 
of the respondent is unknown, while in the other class, 
consisting of general-purpose response systems, the 
identity of the respondent is known in a responsible 
way. To the extent that the operator of such a system 
can accept responsibility for the accuracy of the identifi- 
cation of the respondents, transactions involving money 
can be based upon such responses. It is here that the 
significant difference between the two classes emerges. 

Anonymous Respondent Systems 

Several examples of the anonymous-respondent class 
have been demonstrated using the television or radio 
broadcast media in combination with the conventional 
telephone system. A demonstration staged by the Wired 
City Laboratory of Carleton University in Ottawa, and 
the Ontario Educational Communications Authority 
( ivoni.in,)), used a computer to tally calls received by two 
numbers: one for the "yes" responses, and one for the 
"no" responses. Other similar examples exist, and are 
anonymous simply because identity data arejust not 
possible to collect, where the simple local telephone 
network has been used, without access to the automatic 
number identification system, used by the telephone 
company for customer-dialled long distance calls. 



Such systems are severely limited. When a broadcast 
medium accessing large audiences announces a poll and 
gives out the receiving telephone numbers for "yes" and 
"no" votes, a large volume of telephone traffic is gener- 
ated, all heading for two telephone numbers. This has 
two effects. First, very few of the potential respondents 
will get through and many potential respondents will be 
lost. Second, the congestion created by the hopeful 
respondents can cause overloads in the telephone 
system, which can lead to serious interrruptions of other 
services that depend on the telephone: fire, health, and 
police. This lack of extraordinary peak handling 
capacity makes the use of the conventional telephone 
system unsatisfactory for massive instantaneous polling. 

Recent technological developments, reported by 
Parkinson.' have given telephone systems the potential 
to overcome this peak traffic constraint. Parkinson 
reports on a development that would allow the polling 
traffic to use. but not occupy, the existing telephone 
network. This system completely avoids the problems 
outlined above. The scheme involves equipping each 
listener with a small and relativelv inexpensive response 
unit, which is connected to his telephone line. When 
used, the unit generates special signals to which the 
regular telephone system is oblivious. The signals do not 
penetrate beyond the respondent's local telephone office 
before thev are stripped off, aggregated, and passed into 
a special data-accumulating facility. A poll of even 
millions of viewers would be completed in a mere ten 
seconds, and the results would be available only a few- 
seconds later. 

This system, at present, known as "Incasting". is 
inherently an anonymous-respondent system. The 
svstem is designed to read the individual responses from 
groups of up to 100 respondents at once, and although 
the individual yes-no responses are all detected, there is 
no way anv particular response can be traced, beyond 
knowing from which group of 100 it was generated. By 
arranging the respondents so that there is only one 
special respondent in each group of 100 respondents, 
the system can generate inferential data, given a data 
base about, and authorized by, the special respondents. 
Consequently, two sets of results can be provided, one 



192 



that applies to the particular set of respondents viewing 
the program, and one that applies, by inference, to the 
communitv at large. Although this might look as if 
anonymits has been sacrificed, only a small percentage 
of the population could ever be accessed, and even then, 
there is no way of knowing if it was the teenage child, 
the toddler, or the breadwinner that actually pushed the 
button! 

Careful technological assessment studies of these 
anonvmous-respondent systems have indicated a 
number of potential social benefits and danger areas. 
Our laws regarding voter identification are such that the 
anonymous-respondent class of system can never be 
used in elections or referendums. These systems relate 
more to entertainment, education, and the discovery 
and development of shared feelings about new ideas. 
The danger lies in too rapid an escalation of use for 
issues that are too hot. The critical problem is the 
supply-and-demand relationship during the initial 
phases, for too rapid an escalation could produce 
sufficient viewer frustration to cau.se the system to be 
massively rejected before any of the potential benefits 
could be realized. Other potentially dangerous 
questions are how the results are displayed, and whether 
or not the collected data should be made public in their 
entirety or in part, or restricted to those who paid for its 
collection. All the problems normally encountered in 
polling would have their analogies in the anonymous- 
respondent systems, but they appear to be quite 
manageable. 

Incasting. as described by Parkinson, can work in 
combination with many mass media: radio, television 
and newspapers being three that can be accommodated. 
Through the use of scheduling, compartmentalization. 
and statistical techniques, these diverse media can all be 
accommodated. In this way a range of services with 
varying degrees of respondent involvement, instan- 
taneity. and cost can be offered. 

General-Purpose Response Systems 

Other more complex systems have been described that 
bring back far more data, allowing the possibility of 
subsequent data-processing. Such a potential leads to a 
much wider range of possibilities than those present in 
the simple anonymous-respondent sn stems, for when 
general-purpose response systems are combined with 
mass-broadcast media and electronic funds-transfer 
systems. Pandora's box flies open! 

The "hard sell" that one now sees on television could 
be directly coupled to the act of purchasing. By just 
inserting a credit card in the appropriate slot and 
pressing the button, the viewer can have the latest 
kitchen gizmo sent on its way to his home, and his bank 
account will be automatically ad|usted. This seems 
benign enough, except when one realizes how signifi- 
cantly purchasing behaviour is influenced by marketing 
strategy. In the history of business, each time the 
process has been made more con\cnicnt for the 



consumer, from the original catalogue sales businesses 
to the modern shopping centre, sales have increased. 
Letting a prospective customer browse through an 
electronic catalogue will be far less eflective. in terms of 
the seller's cost-benefit ratio, than a short but very 
intensive television advertising campaign, coupled with 
an instantaneous generalized-response system and a 
widespread electronic funds-transfer system. 

It is not inherent in the technology that a general- 
purpose response system need be constructed so as to 
concentrate the benefits for the seller. A more diffuse 
benefit system could just as easily be constructed, 
w herein satisfaction of the shopper's needs was 
paramount, and where such features as comparative 
shopping were stressed. Such a system would not 
involve tight coupling with mass media like radio and 
television. However, since the benefits would be more 
diffuse, and unless there is concerted intervention, there 
is very little likelihood that such a system will be built, 
without the tight coupling to mass media that makes the 
concentrated-benefits characteristic possible. For this 
reason, we shall continue the analysis on the 
assumption that the general-purpose response system 
would evolve with an organizational infrastructure that 
would force the benefits to be concentrated. 

In such systems, electronic auctions would become 
practical. The pathetic excuses for auctions that are now 
shown on television are totally inhibited by the limited 
capacity of conventional telephone response systems. 
The delays caused by the limited capacity of today's 
techniques prevent the auction from generating really 
good prices. Television auction programs offering the 
bizarre, the exotic, and the unusual could become very 
popular, and quite profitable. 

in both these instances, some kind of good was given 
to the purchaser; however, that is not necessary. Media 
gambling becomes a very real possibility with the 
combination of electronic funds-transfer and general- 
purpose responsive mass media. The ten-second lottery! 
A half-hour television program could easily contain 
three lotteries, with each lottery consisting of some 
seven minutes of promotional buildup, and two and a 
half minutes of winner selection and announcement, 
repeated three times. Furthermore, the draw would be 
made only from tickets actually sold.' All the transac- 
tions would be handled electronically. There would be 
no pain for the viewer-participant, not so much as 
having to reach for the wallet. Gambling could become 
the national pastime. Electronic funds-transfer and 
general-purpose response systems could combine 
eflicientiv to search out and bilk every last compulsive 
gambler in the entire country . To paraphrase the 
marketing stralegem of a large soft-drink company, this 
service would pleasure the customer, would be as close 
as his elbow, and would be immensely profitable to all 
those involved in the production and distnbution of the 
service. 

Television, because of both what it chooses to show 



193 



and what it chooses to ignore, does not portray the 
exphcit real world. That's not what the viewers want. 
Television is therefore a medium of fantasy. As such, it 
tends to undermine our ability to make fine discrimina- 
tions, and leads us towards a state where, as Groen'' 
observes, the distinction between the real and the 
hypothetical, fact and fiction, tends to blur. To couple 
such a medium of fantasy directly into the absolutely 
real and consequential purchasing act as massively and 
as tightly as can be achieved by this combination of 
technologies seems to invite some considerable social 
problems. The social cost of such a service could be 
exorbitant. 

Only the general-purpose response system can 
combine with broadcasting and electronic funds- 
transfer systems to produce this scenario. The 
anonymous-respondent system is just not capable of 
knowing where the bill should go. 

What would stop anyone from offering a dynamic 
lottery, where the amounts of prizes are in proportion to 
the actual amounts subscribed, and this relationship is 
used during the sales campaign to stimulate 
participation? And. just to top it off. the prize for 
everyone is a porno short, the "depth" of which is in 
direct proportion to the total participation. If such a 
scheme were used to finance some good cause or other, 
what defence would the public have? What recourse 
would civilization have? 

This hyper-intensive commercialism springs from the 
three-way combination of broadcasting, electronic 
funds-transfer, and general-purpose response systems. 
As McLuhan has said, each new medium transforms all 
others, and the combination of general-purpose 
response systems, broadcasting, and electronic funds- 
transfer systems will certainly transform broadcasting. 
Whereas today program content is designed to assemble 
an audience so that the advertiser can expose his 
message, tomorrow the program content may largely 
vanish, simply because it is not as exciting or involving 
as the more action-oriented and involving periods 
where real transactions are occurring. 

In its "Report on Business" for November 6. 1976, 
The Globe and Moil reports the intentions of Rogers 
Cable TV in the area of general-purpose response 
systems. In that "Update". Robert Short, president of 
Rogers, describes a system that can prepare indi\ idual 
billings for pay-TV subscribers, and allow viewers to 
participate in surveys and do their shopping from home. 
This is precisely a general-purpose response system and 
so is quite capable of bringing about the hyper-commer- 
cialism alluded to above. These scenarios of commercial 
intensification are not mere whimsy: they are very real 
possibilities. Pay-rv by itself is one thing, but the billing 
mechanism it implies, when coupled directly into 
electronic funds-transter systems, and then combined 
with massive television advertising, can produce 
something quite different from mere entertainment. 
Giving advertisers virtually direct and instantaneous 



access to the nation's wallets may be economically 
virtuous but socially disastrous. 

The anonymous-respondent systems, while still 
providing concentrated benefits, are far more limited in 
the economic transactions they can support, and seem 
somewhat more benign, than the concentrated-benefit 
variety of the general-purpose response system. 

Since it is likely that some form of interaction with 
television and other mass media will occur in the future, 
let us choose the one that leads to the least social 
violence, and let us base that choice on some good 
research. Such work has yet to be done. 



194 



Chapter Three 

Diffuse Benefit Systems 



In the above systems, the abihty to extract revenue was 
quite concentrated, and hence the possibility of inter- 
esting an entrepreneur was reasonably high. The 
obviousness of the revenue potential, being concen- 
trated, permits easy assessment, and so increases the 
probability that someone will build the system. 
Conversely, systems that may provide a greater social 
benefit, but are characterized by very diffuse revenue 
generation, will generally go undeveloped in our society. 

Schemes that add channels to cable television systems 
can be of both types: the concentrated-revenue type 
and the diffuse-benefit type. The concentrated-revenue 
type is exemplified by conventit)nal pay-rv. whereas 
examples of the diffuse-benefit class are relatively 
unknown, and usually dismissed as unimportant. There 
appears to be a correlation between this revenue- 
concentration characteristic and the importance our 
society imputes to a communication system. The easier 
it is to see how the revenue supporting a service can be 
collected, the more important the service is seen to be. 
This propensity leads to the rejection of the more 
socially beneficial but less revenue-concentrated alter- 
natives. 

Thompson,- describes one such alternative which is 
designed to stimulate wide participation in the whole 
television process. The system was based on two groups 
of cable channels being provided to the viewers, one 
group being the conventional channels we now have, or 
their replacement, as proposed by Stuart Griffiths,*' and 
the second group being part of a retrieval service. It is 
this second group that is of interest here. 

No facilities would be incorporated to prevent people 
from seeing material that others had caused to be shown 
on these channels. Anvthing that was selected by 
anyone from the library would then be seen by all who 
cared to watch. 

A fetch charge would be levied against the person 
requesting a particular item from the library, the size of 
which would depend upon the load the .system was 
carrying at the time, and the length of time the 
particular request would occupy the system. In 
addition, a monthly subscription charge would be levied 
to pay for the provision of both categories of channel. 



With a large number of subscribers and only a dozen 
or so retrieval channels, it is clear that the bulk of the 
system's revenue would be derived from the 
subscription fees, and not from the fetch charges. 
Hence, the actual amount of the fetch charge could be 
adjusted to meet the need of regulating the demand for 
fetches. If you wanted to see something for very little 
cost, it would be scheduled for next Tuesday at 7:30 in 
the morning, for example. To have it shown during 
prime time, right now, would cost several times as 
much. 

Because there is no special equipment to prevent you 
from seeing what your neighbour requested, the system 
is quite economical, with the bulk of the cost being 
located in the library and the head end. However, 
deleting this privacy feature also provides a social 
benefit. Everything that is shown on these retrieval 
channels has been selected by someone in the commu- 
nity. The fare that is shown is some kind of television 
map of the community. 

Such a system provides several levels of participation. 
The lowest level would be where one watched the 
regular commercial channels. The next level would 
involve watching what was being shown on the retrieval 
channels and was selected by someone else in the 
community. The level above that would involve making 
fetches from a list circulated once a month with the 
bills. Beyond this level, one could become involved with 
the creation of content for the library. 

The system could incorporate a means for 
community members to make their own television 
material. This material would evolve over time as the 
author reacted to the comments of friends and neigh- 
bours, resulting in a steady improvement in his 
television statement. A system of community television 
that does not have storage lacks this reiterative feature. 

A small payment could be made to the prixlucer of 
material for each showing, and this could offset a shelf- 
space charge that would be levied against matenal that 
was not in demand. In this way, the library can be made 
self-regulating in size. 

This strippcd-down television retrieval system, 
stripped down becau.se it lacks the equipment to ensure 



195 



that only the one who pays for something sees it, breaks 
one of the greatest dilemmas in the retrieval business. 
Everyone wants access to everything, but doesn't want 
to pay very much for it. In a private delivery system, the 
fetch fee must provide payment to the author and 
defray the costs of the equipment used to show that 
material, for it cannot be shared if it is serving only one 
individual. By dispensing with the idea of private 
showings, two benefits emerge: first, it becomes 
economically possible; and second, there is a 
community kind of benefit that would not otherwise 
accrue. 

As more and more systems of this type became avail- 
able, a market would emerge for material created 
especially for such systems. It is not clear that such 
content would be under the same pressures to turn to 
violence in order to capture an audience. More 
thoughtful material would probably succeed here 
because the name of the game is to get a lot of showings 
as opposed to one showing with a large audience. The 
system is. in some ways, an antidote for the toxicity of 
conventional television, and so is very different from the 
conventional pay-TV proposal. It is a kind of community 
television system. 

Community television is a frequently-used term, and 
although the words have distinct dictionary meanings, 
the combination seems imprecise. Community 
television implies some sort of television service that is 
responsive to the needs of the members of the commu- 
nity. Clearly this does not mean more conventional 
television. Community television cannot be more of the 
same. It must, therefore, be some new television-based 
service that appears more responsive to community 
needs. The principal benefits would diffuse throughout 
the community, rather than being concentrated in the 
purveyor's hands. 

Videographe in Montreal is a television production 
house dedicated to the proposition that ordinary people 
can produce good television material. Their strategy is 
to lend a portable videotape recorder to anyone who 
can prepare a reasonable story board. Videographe 
supplies the videotape and the editing facilities, but no 
studio facilities! The "studio" is the biggest snare and 
delusion in the whole field of community television. The 
last thing a community television activity needs is a 
studio. Editing facilities - yes! Portable television 
recorders - yes! Studios - no! 

Since the benefits from an operation like Videographe 
are quite diff'use, there have been real diflnculties in 
keeping the organization alive. The problems have been 
in relation to funding. Very few programs that would 
originate from such a centre would tend to extol the 
virtues of the Establishment; hence there is going to be 
a problem in getting the Establishment to provide the 
necessary operating monies. After several years of 
hand-to-mouth operations. Videographe is now "closed 
for alterations." Pity. 

In my own community, Kanata, which is about ten 



years old, we are experiencing some problems with the 
sewer laterals. These are the connections that join the 
individual houses to the main sewer running down the 
street. It appears that either these were improperly 
installed in the first place, or they have been subject to 
some ground shifting. The question is. should the 
community bear the responsibility of repairing the few 
that have turned out to be defective or should the 
individual home-owner be responsible. There are good 
arguments for both sides, and the issue is really not that 
clear. Here is good meat for community television. It 
would not be very difficult to take a portable tape- 
recorder and put together a succession of visuals clearly 
illustrating the presence or absence of incompetence in 
the original installation. With suitable editing, and with 
a reasonable script, such a presentation would be quite 
acceptable. 

There would be no need for the "talking head", or 
professional actor. We are talking about concise and 
easy-to-perceive things, not complex emotional things 
that are the content of drama and of so much television. 
Almost anyone who is well informed and excited about 
a particular subject can make a reasonable audio-visual 
statement about the subject. Given some modicum of 
technical support and access to good editing equipment, 
the enthusiasm, commitment, and credibility of the 
particular person comes through loud and clear. This 
can more than offset any lack of professionalism. 

A simple program format such as a presentation of 
slides taken on a vacation tnp. together with an accom- 
panying commentary, could provide interesting 
community material. 

Easy access to such a medium could have a profound 
effect on the production of good talent for the creation 
of regular television. A number of years ago. Bell 
Northern Research. Bell Canada, and the Canadian 
Broadcasting Corporation undertook to couple the 
telephone system of Rankin Inlet to a low-power radio 
broadcast transmitter, as an experiment in communica- 
tions. There had been no local broadcasting until then. 
Now with this connection people could talk on the 
radio. They soon learned they could play their record 
players and cassette recorders into the telephone and so 
share their favourite songs with each other. One 
particular chap had visited the community before this 
happened, and had left some cassettes of his singing. 
These proved to be quite popular on the system. When 
a studio was finally built, he moved to Rankin InJet and 
found an eager audience for his material. He has since 
recorded an album, and was wntten up in Weekend 
Magazine. TTiat simple medium of broadcasting, the 
telephone system coupled to a broadcast transmitter, 
had created a star! The telephone system alone, being a 
private delivery system, could not have accomplished 
this. 

The deletion of the private delivery feature that 
permits the individual and private "consumption" of 
information, destroys the one-to-one correspondence 



196 



between requester and beneficiary. With massive 
"snooping" allowed, many who would just be watching 
the output from others' requests are non-paying benefi- 
ciaries. The synergism occurs when they spot something 
that interests them and also surprises them. They would 
not have known ent)ugh to request it in the first place. 
That is why stores lay out all their merchandise, or 
publish pretty books showing all their wares. To ask 
may be to receive, but if one is ignorant of what is there 
the asking won't happen. Information is a good whose 
utility is vastly different for each user. Nor will the 
utilities a particular user assigns today be valid 
tomorrow. It is a very much more dynamic situation 
than the market for real goods. How much do you 
suppose a recording of Bobbv Gimhv's "Canada Song" 
is worth today? In fifty years? To a Brazilian? 

In systems where the benefits diffuse throughout the 
whole community, and where there is this economic 
sponginess. one can expect little interest from the classic 
entrepreneur. Consequently, the probability is high that 
if television technology is to be further extended, it will 
be in the direction of systems where the revenue streams 
and other benefits are concentrated, easily monitored, 
and used to produce cost-offsetting revenue. Hence, we 
can expect, in the absence of any significant interven- 
tion, "First-Run" pay-TV with its institutionalized 
violence, rather than some other perhaps more 
attractive alternative, where the benefits are diffused 
throughout the society. Close on its heels, we can also 
expect the commercial intensification outlined in the 
previous section. Pay-TV is somewhat like a Trojan 
horse. It needs careful probing before the violence it can 
unleash, in terms both of content and of hyper-commer- 
cialism, begins, and we adapt by lessening our sensitiv- 
ities even more. 



197 



Chapter Four 

Convivial Mass Media 



When Ivan Illich uses the term conviviahty to describe 
a property of a tool, he is referring to the utihty of that 
tool as perceived by ordinary people. The common 
hammer is, in Illich's terms, a convivial tool, as is a 
cookstove. Although ordinary people can participate in 
television as viewers, they are quite incapable of 
creating any input to that medium that their fellows will 
regard as worthwhile. Hence, television is low in Illich's 
conviviality, as are all mass media of the one-to-many 
structure. 

For a mass medium to be convivial, it must be easy to 
use. and so not require significant levels of training 
before there is recognizable utility in its use. That is not 
to say that training will not produce different levels of 
utility; in the case of the cookstove. the gourmet's 
training and the harried housekeeper's expenence both 
interact with the stove to produce utility, but different 
kinds of utility. Only a bare minimum of training is 
needed before some utility is perceived in the cookstove. 
Conviviality challenges the designer to produce goods 
and services that can be perceived by both the 
minimally trained and the particularly skilful as having 
wide general utility. 

Conviviality is both time-varying and culture-de- 
pendent. The computer, which was once very low in 
conviviality, may well turn out to be quite high. It was 
so with writing. When writing was first developed, the 
symbols were very complex, and not related to speech 
sounds, but rather to words or ideas. Consequently. 
there were a great many symbols to learn before the 
user could perceive any utility in the art. Ancient 
society could afford only a few specialists with the 
necessary skill to release the utility of early writing. 
With the invention of the phonetic alphabet, it became 
possible to train whole pt)pulations to a level of skill 
that provided utility. With that development writing 
moved from a very low level of conviviality to a much 
higher one. 

Illich has ascribed a high level of conviviality to the 
telephone. However, the rest of our communications 
media, with the exception of c b radio, must be rated 
very low. for participation creating the content of these 
other media requires very special skills. Recent develop- 



ments in technology may provide some surprises. Up 

until now. one would be justified in ascribing a low level 
of conviviality to the computer. The advent of the really 
cheap microprocessor is changing this, and the 
computer may well turn out to be the basis of a highly 
convivial mass medium. Today, there are computer 
hobby stores, and the building of complex personal 
computers has become a significant hobby. The first 
conference for personal computing held in Atlantic City 
last year was planned for about 600 participants. About 
3,000 showed up. This April, a San Francisco 
conference is being planned with an expected regis- 
tration of between 7.000 and 10.000. Hobby or personal 
computing is more than a small group of fanatics. 

The basis of the television games that are rising in 
popularity is cheap computational power in the form of 
large-scale integrated circuits. The simple games of 
PONG and the like will give way to the more complex 
ones that the computer hobbyist enjoys, games that are 
determined by the software placed in his computer's 
memory as opposed to the pre-programmed wiring used 
to interconnect the logic units in the simpler television 
games. 

The evolution of electronic technology is usually 
described in terms of "generations". The first-gener- 
ation television games, like "Odyssey." produced by 
Magnavox. used conventional general-purpose 
integrated circuits that were wired up to produce the 
game effects. Second-generation games, which are now 
being sold in the stores, feature special-purpose 
integrated circuits that were designed to contain all the 
necessary circuitry for several games. This has 
permitted a considerable cost reduction, for the 
assembly labour has been significantly reduced. The 
first and second generation games are fine for the first 
few hours; then they loose their appeal. Their market 
life IS likely to be only a couple of years. 

The first third-generation game has recently been 
announced by Fairchild. based on its F8 Micropro- 
cessor. Fairchild plans to release new games once a 
month, allowing the owner to re-program his unit with 
the latest game. Like the Book of the Month, Fairchild 
is talking of the Game of the Month! The micropro- 



198 



cessor ot ihc third-generation game replaces the second 
generation's special-purpose chip, making the product 
re-programmable. Games manufacturers are hoping 
that this feature will overcome the limitations of the first 
and second-generatu)n games. The Iburth-generalion 
game will have a keyboard and will interact with a 
computer in an intelligent tashion. 1 hese fourth-- 
generation games have been described in the literature 
as interactive video devices, or ivd for short. The ivd 
will very closely resemble the microcomputer of the 
hobbyist, but at a small fraction of the cost because of 
the expected production quantities. This machine will 
play such sophisticated computer games as "Star 7 rek" 
and the like. 

This fourth-generation game, or i\ d, will be much 
more demanding of the television set to which it is 
connected, and direct video connection to that set will 
be required. Present television games connect to the 
television set through its antenna terminals. A much 
clearer picture results when direct bass-band connection 
is made to the video circuits inside the set. It is 
analogous to the phonograph input that was added to 
early radio receivers. A few phonographs were built that 
broadcast to the radio set. but much higher quality was 
obtained by directly accessing the audio circuitry of the 
receiver. Because these fourth-generation games will 
have so much to show, the limitations of using the 
antenna terminals will become evident, and a "video 
input" will probably emerge on ordinary television sets 
as a standard feature in two or three years. When 
portable television sets are made with such an input, the 
revolution will have happened. 

Television games and the microcomputers of the 
hobbyist are aspects of computer technology that are 
surprisingly popular. Given the appeal that the personal 
calculator demonstrated, it is a safe bet to assume that 
the personal microcomputer will become popular in the 
years to come, particularly in view of the potential 
convergence between the hobby computer and fourth- 
generation games, for such convergences generally 
signify important developments. 

Already hobby computers are being coupled together 
through the telephone network, exchanging programs, 
and - more significantly - playing interactive games 
where the cimtestants are coupled only by telephone 
circuits. Here may be the precursor of a new mass 
medium that will be very convivial. 

Such a new medium involves the use of intelligent 
terminal devices on a common communication 
network, devices that can process and store informa- 
tion. Our television sets, our telephones, and our stereos 
are all dumb devices. They make no decisions, and they 
permit little or no interaction with the user; for, beyond 
selecting the channel and setting the volume and colour 
controls, they are under the complete control of the 
program source. The intelligent terminal is something 
quite difierent. It seeks only guidance from the 
"source." and the details of what it presents to the user 



are a combination of what it receives from the "source," 
what it has stored in its memory, and what the user has 
done and is doing. It may present a view of a football 
field, with the ball location being calculated from rules 
it has stored: the moves made by the players are 
communicated to it through a keyboard. To do so. it 
may have gone lo a centrally stored file of game 
programs, or may have obtained its "source" program 
from a tape cassette inserted by the player. 

The incredible cost reductions that have occurred in 
the field of micro-circuitry have been generally 
overlooked in terms of the potential impact on society. 
This is perhaps due to the diffu-se nature of the benefits 
this development will have in the long run. To the 
extent that microprocessors are used in automobiles, 
kitchen appliances, and other conventional goods, the 
probability that they will become widely used as 
personal computers increases. Already one microwave 
oven is advertised as containing a microprocessor, and 
at least one automobile manufacturer is using them in 
his quality line. 

This technology is likely to have a far greater impact 
than technological advances that merely relate to 
delivery systems, like fibre optics, for example. We 
already have a very widespread mass delivery system 
that is putting a great deal of material into homes 
already. Technological improvements that merely 
multiply the already considerable capacity to deliver 
material are not likely to cause very much change. Since 
a viewer can watch only one channel at a time, it 
matters little that there are eleven or thirty channels he 
is not watching. There is certainly a law of diminishing 
returns operating, and clearly the first twelve channels 
are worth much more than the second twelve. The new 
transmission technologies, like fibre optics, are facing 
an established infrastructure and technology. 

The microprocessor, on the other hand, is a new 
device that does new things in terms of its communica- 
tions impacts. Hence it is facing virgin territory .so far as 
infrastructure is concerned. The early indications are 
that the infrastructure will lead to a convivial develop- 
ment. 

Radio, however, began in a similar fashion. The 
hobbyist was the market for quite a while. Then the 
advertiser discovered radio, and found a way of devel- 
oping it with the economic benefits concentrated; thus 
it was pursued as a concentrated-benefit medium, 
producing a low level of conviviality. It is not very 
obvious how this new microcomputer medium could be 
so diverted. 

The intelligent terminal is quite capable of operating 
free of any connection to a network, but becomes richer 
for that connection. The experience of playing football, 
for example, can then be shared between people w ho 
are connected only by a communication network. When 
intelligence in the network itself interacts meaningfully 
with the intelligence in the terminal, the full potential at 



IM 



a new convivial mass medium of communication will be 
realized. 

The other half of the technological revolution that 
completes the microprocessor intelligent terminal is the 
interconnection of these devices through a communica- 
tions network. Two opportunities are available for this 
interconnection: one via the evolving telephone 
network and one that is based on extensions to the 
television cable. 

The telephone network for most of the past hundred 
years has transmitted our voices by sending a varying 
electric current that was proportional to the signal we 
created at the mouthpiece. Over the last quarter-century 
this has been changing, and now the trend is to send a 
digitalized code that represents the instantaneous 
amplitude of the signal, instead of a voltage that is 
analogous to the signal. The newer transmission 
technique is called digital, while the older one is termed 
analog. The digital signal looksjust like the bits of a 
computer signal. Limited cable-duct sizes and growing 
demands for circuits coupling telephone switching 
centres combined to cause the introduction, on a 
massive scale, of digital transmission facilities in our 
larger cities. This program has been going on for years. 

Today, the escalation of switching demands and 
service requirements, along with the high costs of urban 
space, have combined to bring about digitalization 
again, but this time through the development of fully 
digital switching machines. Such machines are now 
under active development. 

With digital transmission and switching systems there 
is the potential of a totally digital telephone network. 
Such a network allows much more than mere voice 
services. A facility that handles voice in its digital 
format is a natural for handling data transmission, and 
can even do both at once. The same technological 
developments that have produced the microprocessor 
have made it possible to build these new digital facili- 
ties, and at very reasonable costs. 

With the exception of literal moving television 
pictures, the digital voice circuit can do just about 
anything. Consequently, sophisticated individualized 
services become very practical, given a digital environ- 
ment. 

Because of the investment involved, it is reasonable 
to expect a period of some fifteen vears to elapse before 
such facilities are widely available, under the impetus of 
simple telephone needs. In the meantime, new data 
communications facilities are being developed within 
the telephone plant which will carry the signals from the 
ivDs with ease and economy. The transition from the 
data network phase, using services such as Bell 
Canada's d.mapac , to a totally digital network will be 
very painless, and paced by tlie demand created by i\ Us 
and their close relatives. 

An alternative network for the interconnection of ivds 
could spring from changes in the way cable operators 
use their coaxial cable. This possibility seems to be 



recognized by at least one American cable operator in 
his purchase of the largest television game manufac- 
turer. Stating that he will provide the re-programming 
for the third-generation games from a computer located 
at his head end, he expects eventually to develop facil- 
ities to permit the interconnection of^ individual ivds to 
each other and to his computer. He apparently sees 
many opportunities in the combination of a network 
that is based on his television cable and the ivds his 
regular catv customers will own. As the residential 
market is reasonably well serviced by cable now. and 
since the market for ivds will appear as largely enter- 
tainment for quite a while, there is a strong possibility 
that a simplistic residential digital network will be 
developed by the cable interests. The addition of audio 
facilities to these ivds, allowing the players to talk to 
each other during their game, is only a matter of time. 
The ivD with these audio facilities could develop into 
the "Son of the Telephone"! 

The restructuring of Canadian television broad- 
casting suggested by Stuart Griffiths could trigger such 
a chain of events, if care were taken in design of the 
infrastructure supporting the delivery facilities. There 
are very significant downstream consequences of the 
development of integrated networks of cable television 
facilities that must be recognized. 

The provision of a limited form of service to a few 
game addicts is one thing, and clearly is something that 
the more entrepreneurial cable operator can readily 
perceive, as noted above. Providing a mainline high- 
demand service to everyone is quite another matter. If 
this new communications medium, based on ivDs, 
should become popular, it would probably cause greater 
traffic densities than the telephone does. The average 
person spends relatively little time on the telephone. 
This new medium could involve a significantly higher 
level of use. From this it follows that the switching facil- 
ities required in this new medium could exceed by 
several times even the projected telephone switching 
requirements. 

This would be no small ancillary business for the 
cable operating agency. If the service were really to 
succeed, and if the agencv were to proceed, it would 
cause cable to go through a radical change, probably 
within the next ten to fifteen years. It would change 
from operating a simple transmission facility for distrib- 
uting television matenal to operating a very sophisti- 
cated message-switching system, exceeding even the 
telephone system in complexity and investment. The 
facilities required for this new service would grow to 
being the lion's share of the agency's investment. 
Furthermore, such an investment would virtually wipe 
out the utility of the existing local telephone plant. 

Returning to the medium itself one cautionary note 
must be sounded, for the i\ d is quite capable of 
bringing about the hyper-commercialism scenario 
developed in the section on Responsive Mass Media. 
All that is missing is the coupling into television or other 



200 



broadcasting medium. Since that coupling is organiza- 
tional rather than technical, it can happen quickly and 
easily. Consideration may have to be given to limiting 
shopping modes to those that are individual and do not 
involve mass advertising schemes on the broadcast 
media, to which instantaneous responses can be made 
to actualize purchases. 

Just as the television sets we now use are dumb termi- 
nals, so is our present communication network, 
compared to what it might be. This same digital 
technology and the ubiquitous microprocessor could 
make the network far more responsive to our needs. 
Today, the telephone network responds only to properly 
formatted numeric requests. The dialing must be done 
in accordance with a set of exact instructions. The 
telephone number must always follow the area code. 
Such detailed instructions are slavishly tbllowed. Only 
those who are connected to the modern electronic 
exchanges have access to anything but the simplest of 
services. Tomorrow, a clever network.' could bnng 
about the implementation of lllich's learning webs,' 
through the combination of computer-aided learning 
and computer conferencing. 

Computer-aided learning involves the use of a 
computer to aid both the student and the author in the 
business of learning. The student is aided by the system 
so that he works his way through the material in the 
way best suited to his own needs. The author is aided by 
having statistical data that accurately guide him in 
creating the most effective teaching program possible. 
The monitoring is not for the student's marks alone, it is 
also to indicate to the author where he has presented a 
concept that is being resisted, or misunderstood by the 
students. This technology is here, it works, and it is 
being used with real students in real situations at 
reasonable cost. 

Computer conferencing involves the creation of a 
pseudo-conference within a computer that can be 
accessed at any time by the conference participants. 
Upon accessing the conference, one is fed the messages 
that have accumulated since the last check-in. New 
messages can be inserted, and these can be either 
private, that is. directed to a particular participant, or 
public, where they are directed to the whole conference. 
It IS rather like having a private electronic mailing and 
filing system for the exclusive use of a group, however 
widespread, dedicated to a single task. Computer 
conferencing has proved to be a useful technique for the 
management of a crisis where the people involved are 
distributed over a wide geographical area. The 
technique was first successfully used by the Nixon 
administration in connection with their wage- and 
price-freeze program, where it worked very well. 

The object in combining these two concepts is to 
bring together students at similar achievement levels, 
forming lllich's learning webs. The particular track each 
student takes as he passes through his courses, and the 
responses he makes, create a very idiosyncratic 



behaviour-based profile of that student. Through the 
use of rather straightforward algorithms, the students 
can be coupled in computer-conference groups of a 
dozen or so, where they converse only with students 
with the closest track to their own. The system behaves 
as if it "understands" what is happening. In reality, it 
does only what is logical, given the data it has collected, 
and the rules it has for processing those data. 

An intelligent digital network could provide the 
"smarts" to make such a scheme work, and it could 
work even if the computer-aided learning matenal were 
stored in the student's terminal, so long as suitable 
"hooks" were included in the material that the network 
could recognize. Such a service would be a lot more 
exciting than one that merely provided connection 
between properly identified ports, which is all we have 
now. 

Gaming alone is not enough to make a new medium 
prosper, but it is likely to have the appeal required to 
launch a new medium. The combination of computer- 
aided learning and computer conferencing has the 
staying power to keep such a medium going over the 
long term. This latter combination does have some of 
the appeal found in cb radio, in that new and interesting 
acquaintances can be established that would not have 
happened otherwise. Together, gaming and computer- 
aided learning, with conferencing, provide a powerful 
content for a new convivial mass communication 
medium based on intelligent terminals (ivdv) and an 
intelligent network. 

Datamation for November 1976 carries an item about 
a new business in Clifl^vood. New Jersey, that is 
described as a department store for computer gaming 
enthusiasts. The company. Computer Recreations. 
provides a computer to which customers can connect 
their intelligent terminals and play games with each 
other. The games themselves are provided by the 
customers and stored in the company's computer. In 
addition to a connection charge of about a dollar an 
hour, a royalty is collected by the company for payment 
to authors of the games. Players are inclined to use 
aliases, and as the article suggests. Wonder Woman will 
be playing chess with Superman via computer. It seems 
it is less of an ego hit to lose while hidden behind an 
alias. Chess, golf. Monopoly, football, space war. 
solitaire, and blackjack are all available now on the 
system. 

The economic transactions that this activity supports 
are of particular interest, for a good is being exchanged 
that IS almost entirely ephemeral. Furthermore, the 
economic benefits are difi"used throughout the society. 
Such transaction patterns may be very important in our 
future, and only st>phisticated communications systems 
can support such patterns at any significant level. 
Growth of the economy in this direction will have little 
negative impact on our already overloaded environ- 
ment. 

Economic development in its classical form seems 



201 



limited owing to the pressure produced by climbing 
populations and limited resources. Without some 
fundamental changes, this dilemma could produce 
significant social and economic disruption. Many of the 
proposals for change in themselves involve difficult 
social adjustments that will never win at the polls. For 
example, Arthur Smith," points out that we have already 
tried "zero growth" and didn't like it, the reference 
being to the 1930s. 

There appears to be the possibility of developing a 
significant level of trading activity based on the 
exchanges that a network of interconnected intelligent 
terminals and computers could sustain. '" One investi- 
gator, Yoneji Masuda, " has suggested that there is a 
potential here that exceeds the economic impact of the 
industrial revolution. Even discounting this claim, we 
may have an important opportunity and challenge here 
that should be examined with great care, for it may be 
the only means of having a future that will be exciting 
enough to win adherents. 

The combination of these two developments, the 
intelligent terminal device and the digital communica- 
tions network, are likely to produce a new mass medium 
of great conviviality and profound social benefit. It can 
be hoped that the play aspects of its two parents, the 
hobby computer and the television game, will survive. 
Because it is likely to produce benefits that will be 
diffused widely throughout society, its development is 
likely to be rather slow, and certainly unheralded. The 
fear is that, like radio, it could be perverted into a 
concentrated-benefit medium. This will not occur 
simply through the disposition of the hardware but 
rather through the form of the infrastructure that 
supports the content for this new medium. From what 
we can deduce at this time, it seems likely that such 
perversion will be avoided because of the nature of the 
medium itself, and the ease with which sophisticated 
help can be brought to the modestly skilled user in the 
preparation of content. 



202 



Chapter Five 

Culture Defence 



Canada has some particular problems as the neighbour 
of a country that actively exports its culture. Some form 
of defence against such exports seems necessary if we 
are to preserve our Canadian identity. While regulatory 
and legislative means have been used in the past, we 
have been reluctant to employ technological defence 
mechanisms, recognizing that the European experience 
in this area is rather unsatisfactory. It will be recalled 
that various European countries use different colour 
television systems that are incompatible. 

Rather than adopting competing standards, which 
has been the basis of most technological defences 
against cultural invasion, there may be opportunities to 
use technology in such a fashion as to enhance the 
apparent quality of the Canadian product while not 
detracting from that of the competition. 

Although television is thought of as a video medium. 
and the technological investment has certainly substan- 
tiated our belief, it is reallv verv high in its audio 
content. The screen is really too small for television to 
be a principally video experience. The sound must 
continually attract us to that inadequate screen. We 
might quite reasonably make the sound on Canadian 
television something worthwhile. It could be both stereo 
and hi-fi. It is already km. but it is so poorly used in the 
average receiver that it sounds even worse than conven- 
tional AM. That doesn't have to be. Let me link my 
stereo to my television if I must, but give me good 
sound on my television. Canadian-produced program 
material could then sound so much better than the 
competing material, given the proper receiver, that it 
would have a real advantage over material from other 
sources. 

Considering the growing trend of cable viewers to 
equip themselves with converters, there is a relatively 
inexpensive opportunitv to incorporate the necessary 
demodulation equipment in the television converter. 
Just as the converter now feeds the television set on 
only one channel, so this "Stereo-Tv Converter" would 
feed both the television set and a stereo fm receiver on 
fixed frequencies. The remote-control feature of the 
converter would ofi'set the dilTiculties inherent in using a 
receiving device composed of two basic units. Eventu- 



ally, proper stereo television sets could be marketed, but 

access to the service could be had for a relatively small 
investment if we capitalized early on this growing 
demand for converters. 

Much of the film material produced is in the form of 
multi-track audio, and would only need to be played on 
the proper projectors when shown on television to make 
multi-track source matenal available. A simple encoder 
could be added to the conventional television trans- 
mitter to accommodate the stereo sound. It is not 
technically difficult. The chief cost would lie in the 
increased line charges for carrying the additional sound 
channel between the television stations that make up 
our various networks. Such a system would be entirely 
compatible, in that old receivers would work with 
normal results, and old content would also work 
without change. Perhaps the TVOntario network would 
be a good place to start such an evolutionary change. 

The second scheme that could improve our own 
television material is based on the introduction of 
Incasting, an anonymous-response system descnbed in 
the Responsive Mass Media section. This strategy 
would likely result in the creation of television content 
specifically designed to be used in conjunction with a 
mass-response svstem. The possibilities are quite 
exciting. 

There may be other ways of improving the way we 
present and view our culture, wavs that will not detract 
from the way imported culture is presented, but will 
make our own appear to have an edge. If we could 
generate the consensus that such tactics were worth- 
while, we would have achieved two things. First, we 
would have demonstrated in real terms that we want to 
develop our own culture while at the same time 
enjoying that of others. Second, just being able to 
generate such a consensus is a real demonstration of our 
cultural wealth. 

Given the communications resources we already 
have, both installed systems and research facilities, 
perhaps we should look closely at the possibility of 
demonstrating real cultural maturity. We cannot 
prohibit the foreign culture, we must learn to stimulate 
our own while at the s;ime lime not denying the other. 



203 



We must, as it were, both eat the cake and preserve it 
too. There may be ways of using technology at very 
simple levels to help us do just that. 



204 



Chapter Six 

Conclusion 



Four areas of electronic media development have been 
presented that are not the commonly perceived ones. In 
each case, there is some compelling rationale for the 
development other than that supplied by the mere 
technology itself The economic attractiveness of some 
of the proposals could blind us to the potential dangers; 
in other cases, the ditfuseness of the benefits could 
significantly delay implementation. It is felt that these 
factors, when combined with the actions of the 
regulator, are more likely to determine what develops in 
the future in the electronic communications media. 
There seems to be an opportunity to do far more than 
just arrange for our protection from further violence in 
the accepted meaning of that term, for there may well 
be the opportunity to develop communications facilities 
that act as a true medium, and help us in our transition 
to a more ecologicallv balanced and civilized state. 
Not to explore this possibility may perpetrate the 
greatest violence of all. 



205 



References 

1 Ivan Illich, Tools for Commalily, New York, Harper and 
Row, 1973. 

2 P. Parkinson, "Incasting," Proceedings of the Second 
International Symposium on Subscriber Loops and Services, 
London, May 3-5, 1976. 

3 Editorial, The Globe and Mail, November 1, 1976. 

4 R. Groen, "What's on Television," The Canadian Forum. 
October 1976, pp. 8-14. 

5 G. B. Thompson, "Rekindhng the Shared Experience," In 
Search, Autumn 1975. 

6 Stuart Griffiths, "Alternatives for Canadian Television," in 
Ontario. Royal Commission on Violence in the 
Commmunications Industry. Report. Vol. 7: The Media 
Industries: From Here to Where'^. Toronto, 1977. 

7 G. Thompson, "Towards a Clever Data Network," Telesis, 
Bell Northern Research, Summer 1975. 

8 Ivan Ilhch, Deschooling Society. Harrow Books, Harper and 
Row, New York, 1970. 

9 A. J. R. Smith, "Equality and Efficiency: the Big Trade-off," 
The Canadian Business Review, Autumn 1976. 

10 G. Thompson, "Greening of the Wired City," Telesis. Bell 
Northern Research, Summer 1971. 

1 1 Y. Masuda, "The Conceptual Framework of Information 
Economics." ieee Transactions on Communications. Special 
Issue on Social Aspects, October 1975, pp. 1028-1039. 



206 



Alternatives 
for Canadian 
Television 



Stuart Griffiths 
Communications Consultant 



Contents 

Chapter 1 Introduction Page 209 

2 Television Development in Canada 211 

3 Problems for the Present System 213 

4 Problems for Canadian Television Production 217 

5 The Cost of the Present System 219 

6 Horizontal Versus Vertical 222 

7 An Alternative System . 224 

8 The Structure of the New Canadian Broadcasting System 228 

9 Television Canada 231 

10 Television Canada Facilities 232 

11 Development of Television Canada 234 

12 Political Action 235 

Appendix A; Charts 237 

Appendix B: Copy of Proposed Agreement (Canada and 

Manitoba) 250 



Chapter One 

Introduction 



By definition, the focus of the inquiry of this Royal 
Commission is on the violent content of mass communi- 
cations. That is not the immediate focus of this study. 
This report was undertai<en at the request of the Royal 
Commission: its focus is the structure of Canadian 
broadcasting, whose shortcomings and problems make 
it difficult, if not impossible, for Canadians to influence 
and control the content of broadcasting available to 
them. This study undertakes to suggest solutions to the 
dilemma of a broadcast system which is shaped and 
distorted by forces outside domestic control more often 
than by Canadians within the Canadian political, social, 
and economic framework. Our aspirations for a truly 
Canadian system cannot be attained until this funda- 
mental problem is resolved. 

Of all mass communication available to Canadians, 
television - because of its pervasiveness, its power to 
inform, instruct and entertain, to mould our attitudes 
and sometimes our behaviour - is the most powerful 
and most influential. Problems which have evolved 
along with the development of the Canadian television 
system must be solved if television is to play an 
optimum role in the social and cultural development of 
Canada, indeed in the very unity of the country. 

For three decades - from 1934 to 1960 - Canadian 
radio, particularly as manifested by the Canadian 
Broadcasting Corporation, was the single most 
important means of knitting the country together, enter- 
taining It, informing it, and influencing it. Its import- 
ance was disproportionate to its size and resources. For 
most Canadians, both Francophone and Anglophone, 
radio substituted for a film industry, a national theatre, 
a national newspaper, a national magazine. 

The larger cities, then as now, had other cultural 
amenities, but those were not readily available to the 
many Canadians who lived outside the cities. Although 
we were not isolated from our powerful neighbour to 
the south, Canadians were in those decades less condi- 
tioned and less influenced by the L'nited States than we 
are now. 

It was a maturing time for Canada, a time when a 
pervasive British set of values made way for the devel- 
opment of qualities uniquely our own and reflecting our 



disparate origins. Canadians recognized the fact that we 
share a continent with a nation of vigorous, dynamic 
people whose similarities to Canadians vastly 
outweighed their diflferences. As U.S. and Canadian 
political, judicial, and social structures stem from our 
common British heritage, so does the language of 
expression common to the North American majority. 
For Canadians of French expression, a language barrier 
has protected and fostered a divergent culture. A part of 
the Canadian reality was and is its juxtaposition to the 
United States - a neighbour of power, wealth, and 
mostly unaware influence, with ten times the population 
of Canada. 

A generation of passionate Canadians appeared 
during these years. Largely through radio, their 
influence spread throughout the country. Canadian 
radio played a unique role during the Second World 
War, reporting and linking tho.se at home with those 
away. 

Television was developed in Britain during the 
Thirties, but was not available to the public until after 
the end of the War. Almost immediately after hostilities 
had ended, television was launched in the United States 
and it developed rapidly. At first only those Canadians 
living near the border, in reach of American stations, 
could receive television transmissions. It was not until 
1952 that television broadcasting began in Canada. 

Television provided an illusion of reality which 
transcended radio. For many, it was difficult to separate 
its ephemeral image from reality. Seeing was believing, 
and that made the medium different, less imaginative 
yet more powerful, than radio. If one saw it on the box, 
it existed, if only for the moment. Within a decade after 
the end of the war, television had usurped the unique 
place of radio, which took a lesser place as just another 
convenience of living, like the gramophone, the 
telephone, and the automobile. 

Canadians, escaping from the Depression and 
searching for an identity, emerged from the war a 
different people than the\ were at the beginning of it. 
The wartime contributions and experiences of 
Canadians fostered the development of a confidence 
and a pride thai stimulated a rapid expansion of indus- 



:o<) 



trial, economic, and cultural life. Our people came out 
of that War with a greater knowledge of, and interest in, 
the world outside our borders. Television was there to 
further that knowledge, to feed that mterest. But daily 
exposure to television has made Canadians more like 
Americans. 

Conditioned by two decades of television reportage 
of American wars and domestic conflict, Canadians 
have to a great extent accepted those images as our own 
reality, and added them to images of our own violent 
incidents, as duly reported by ubiquitous Canadian 
television cameras. Canadians can thus be seen to be 
twice blessed - we are influenced in our values and 
modes of life by the United States: we accept its 
violence and add it to our own indigenous violence. 
Pity, bv comparison, the poor U.S. viewer, who has only 
his own American violence to watch, since rarely on his 
home screen does he see anything of his northern neigh- 
bour. 

A Toronto viewer has more television to choose from 
than his counterpart in New York, Chicago, or Los 
Angeles. But, unlike the U.S. viewer, whose television 
diet is almost 100 per cent domestic, the Canadian sees 
an overwhelming proportion of non-Canadian 
programs. Canadian viewers who are not as advanta- 
geously located as those of Toronto, often complain 
that they are deprived, and clamour for more viewing 
choice. It seems clear that every Canadian viewer wants 
a richer system, providing more than the two, three, or 
four choices presently available to him. Cable television 
has stepped in to provide that choice - at least for 
viewers in the larger Canadian cities, where a viewer 
may today have access to more than 20 channels. 
Proportionately, Canada already has more cable 
connections than any other country in the world. 

Regulations imposed by the federal broadcasting 
authority, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecom- 
munications Commission, require cable operators to 
carry all local Canadian signals: the remaining channels 
can be allotted to American signals. Those signals 
originate from stations outside Canada, which are 
neither regulated, licensed, nor controlled by 
Canadians. They compete strongly with Canadian 
telecasters for the Canadian audience. All American 
television (with the exception of the pbs stations) is 
financed by advertising. So are the majority of 
Canadian television stations. The Ontario educational 
stations and the cbc are exceptions. The tvo stations are 
entirely financed by provincial appropriations, while the 
CBC receives 20 per cent of its revenue from advertising 
and the balance from parliamentary appropriations. 
Advertisers buy numbers of viewers watching, so even 
the CBC is caught up in the numbers game as it tries to 
justify its costs by audience ratings. 

The bulk of what Canadian viewers have available to 
them is American-produced television programming, 
received off-air by border viewers, through cable from 
American stations, or from Canadian stations which 



buy programs from the American networks. At present, 
Canadian content on many cable systems is probably 
not more than 20 per cent of what is available. During 
1976, there was pressure on the federal government to 
license pay-TV, which would provide further compe- 
tition for viewers. Most of the content of any such 
system would be American-made programming. 

This, then, is the Canadian system as it exists in 1977. 
Even this, inadequate and flawed as it is, is unlikely ever 
to become available to more than 70 per cent of 
Canadian homes. 

What the Parliament of Canada described in the 
Broadcasting Act of 1968 as the Canadian broadcasting 
system is steadily becoming less Canadian in quantity, 
quality, and availability. It is increasingly indistin- 
guishable from the system made in the United States for 
American viewers, and is increasingly beyond any 
effective Canadian control. 

Presumably Canadians desire a distinctively 
Canadian broadcasting service as described by the 
Broadcasting Act. (See Chart G.) However, there is little 
hope of this within the system as it now exists, nor does 
the present system respond to concerns about identity, 
violence, and pertinence. What a system does not 
determine and originate, it cannot control. Our system 
is no longer responsive to Canadian needs, nor is it 
likely to be if it continues on its present course. 

The aim of this study is to explore an alternative 
Canadian system. 



210 



Chapter Two 

Television Development in Canada 



There are 6.7 million homes with television sets in 
Canada today. The number of television homes is 
increasmg in direct relation to population increase. 
Many of these homes have several television sets, 
enabling simultaneous viewing of different programs by 
different members of the family. Twenty-five years ago 
there were 47.000 sets in the country, mostly in the 
Toronto-Niagara area. They were used by Canadians to 
watch American programs, because there was no 
Canadian television broadcasting at that time. 

Canadian television transmission was introduced by 
the CBc in the autumn of 1952. Broadcastmg was in 
English and French from the begmnmg. Television 
developed rapidly along the Imes of ( bc radio - with a 
network made up of a combination of stations owned 
and operated by the c Br in the larger cities and 
privately owned affiliates in smaller markets. By 1955. 
about 60 per cent of Canadians could watch television - 
programs presented by the c bc , the private stations. 
and, for those within range, the U.S. stations across the 
border. While a combination of Canadian and U.S. 
programs has always been a characteristic of the 
Canadian television service, in the early 1950s the 
proportion of Canadian-produced programs was, ironi- 
cally, higher than it is today. 

The early years of Canadian television were affection- 
ately labelled "The Golden Years" by the car when it 
celebrated its twentieth television anniversary in 1972. 
because Canadians watched more Canadian programs 
then than they do now. Canadian producers, directors, 
and performers developed rapidly and became recog- 
nized as among the best in the world. And soon, 
because the limitations of Canadian opportunities and 
budgets could not keep pace with their aspirations, 
many of the most talented of the first crop of English- 
speaking television's creative personnel drifted away 
from Canada. They have been followed by many more 
in successive years. Perhaps this must always be the role 
of Canadian English-speaking creative talent, who live 
in a larger competitive world than their French- 
speaking creative colleagues who are no less talented. 

The places of those who left Canada were filled by 
older, less talented and younger, less experienced 



creative workers. In the years since, much the same 
pattern of training, frustration, and deciding to leave or 
stay has continued. Older, less creative veterans 
frequently graduated into supervisory jobs in the cbc. 
The more aggressive, younger creative people free- 
lanced and had only contractual relationships with the 
CBC. the main employer for creative talents during the 
1950s. Popular programs of real quality often resulted 
from such relationships. For people who were seriously 
interested in the medium of television in a creative way. 
there was no other employer in Canada. It is not 
surpnsing that the < b( "s staff grew rapidlv. 

By the end of the 1950s, public pressure was forcing 
the development of "second stations" to provide alter- 
native viewing for those Canadians who could only 
receive one channel. There was also pressure from 
advertisers who wanted additional choice and compe- 
tition in television advertising. In 1961. the Board of 
Broadcast Governors, as the federal regulatory 
authority was then known, licensed the first group of 
"second" stations in Toronto. Montreal. Ottawa, 
Winnipeg, and Vancouver. So began the "commercial" 
network, civ. which rapidly increased in number of 
affiliates. Little noticed, about the same time, was the 
beginning of cable television. This was a privately 
financed effort designed to provide television to areas 
which were too far away from a television transmitter to 
receive a signal off-air, and to provide choice in urban 
areas where onlv the c bc signal was available. The 
choice was usually .American. 

The addition of the second network increased the 
total number of hours of Canadian viewing. The second 
network was gradually able to mount programs that - if 
not in budget, at least in popularity competed 
favourably with those pri>duced by the c bc . Since 
neither Canadian network could compete with the U.S. 
networks in either budget or programming, each 
network used American programs to attract audiences 
to adjacent Canadian programs. The regulators - first 
the Board of Brciadcast Governors (bbg) and then us 
successor, the Canadian Radio-Television and 
Telecommunications Commission (c RU ) - gradually 
increased the requirements in the ^Mcjnmc of Canadian 



211 



production required of all Canadian stations. The 
regulators realized that, while quality of production was 
an important factor in viewer choice, there were 
practical limits that had to be acknowledged. At the 
same time, they had to keep the pressure on the 
"second" stations and network to expand into less and 
less profitable coverage areas where viewers never- 
theless wanted choice. These efforts increased the 
viewing of Canadian stations and. according to their 
popularity, of Canadian-produced programs. 

By the middle of the 1960s, colour television, which 
had'earlier come to the United States, came to Canada. 
Viewers who purchased the first sets now sought more 
choice of programs in colour tojustify the cost of their 
sets. Many colour-television viewers living in cities 
discovered that, while acceptable black-and-white 
reception had been possible, colour suddenly made 
defects of reception apparent. More and more 
Canadians were moving to the cities, and the increasing 
numbers of large apartment and office buildings made 
colour television transmission extremely difficult, as the 
direct signals were shielded and reflected. 

Cable television became the urban solution to 
provide more choice and technically better reception. It 
has extended rapidly through the late 1960s and 1970s. 
In many cities it is the main means of television recep- 
tion. Cable is further developed in Canada than in any 
other country in the world. 

It is cable 'television and its eflTects that have changed 
the nature of Canadian television from a narrow to a 
broad-choice system. This has happened with the 
apparent enthusiastic support of the Canadian viewer. 



212 



Chapter Three 

Problems for the Present System 



Cable Television 

The Canadian regulators were reluctant in their 
handhng of cable television. The bbc. and the c rtc 
ignored it, then slowly recognized it. then isolated it, 
then tried to limit it, and, finally, only through immense 
public pressure, accepted it. Its Canadian history may 
represent hardy pioneering on the part of the operators 
and the triumph of public will m a democracy, for 
certainly the attitudes and actions of the regulators were 
not perceptive. One can perhaps ftirgive the earlier 
Department of Transport and the Board of Broadcast 
Governors, for in their days of responsibility tor broad- 
casting, cable television was a very small thing. By the 
1960s, its potential could be perceived; by 1967 its role 
was clear, technically if not legally. Yet the current 
Broadcasting Act, which became law in 1968, pays 
scant attention to the role of cable television in the 
Canadian broadcasting service. 

Broadcasting, both radio and television, has always 
been regarded as a federal matter and has been so inter- 
preted by the courts. Even a provincial broadcasting 
enterprise must be licensed by the federal regulator, 
currently the c Rrc. Since cable companies are licensed 
to transmit programs, their operations are regulated 
according to the Broadcasting Act. (See Chart G.) 

But is cablecasting (transmission of programs directly 
onto the cable system) really broadcasting? It can be 
argued that unless programs are transmitted by 
Hertzian waves through the ether, they are not 
"broadcast" within the meaning of the Broadcasting 
Act. The Act's definition of broadcasting inhibits the 
logical improvement of the technical quality of the 
television pictures and, unless redefined, may increase 
pressure to bring broadcasting within provincial juris- 
diction. 

The technical quality of programs carried by every 
cable company could be greatly improved by a direct 
connection from the television stations they relay. At 
present the program must first be transmitted and 
received before being relayed to cable subscribers. If all 
of a station's viewers in Canada were subscribers to 
cable, would there be any point in transmitting the 
programs through the ether? Cablecasting is making 



transmitters redundant without increasing the number 
of viewers to the station. It provides only an alternative 
means of delivery. 

It is not yet clear whether all programs carried by a 
cable company fall under federal jurisdiction within the 
Broadcasting Act. Jurisdiction over the programs the 
cable companies originate themselves, or relay by 
microwave from other points (major sports events, 
motion pictures, et cetera), requires clarification. The 
(RTC has taken the position that all such programs fall 
to it for regulation, but some operators and provinces 
dispute the federal junsdiction over the carnage of such 
"closed-circuit" programs. 

Uncertainty and apprehension in the federal mind is 
undoubtedly responsible for the unaccustomed and 
unseemly speed with which the federal Minister of 
Communications has indicated her wish to see pay-TV 
introduced into Canada. The health of broadcasting 
and the will of the people do not seem to be her primary 
concerns. Her motivation appears to be the fear that if 
speedy action is not taken by the Federal Government. 
pay-TV may start without federal authorization and be 
so rapidly developed as to make future regulation 
difficult or impossible. Ontario has already licensed one 
such operation in Toronto, although, at date of wTiting, 
jurisdiction has not been tested in the courts. 

An urgent problem for Canadian broadcasting is 
therefore a resolution of the question, when is cable- 
casting not broadcasting? This clarification is important 
not only for cable television but also for conventional 
broadcasting. 

The Television Broadcasting System 

The problems of the Canadian television broadcasting 
system can be examined from the different vantage 
points of the viewer, the broadcaster, the cable operator. 
and the regulator. 

I. The Viewer 

There is a great disparity in the quality and quantity of 
the television service available to viewers in different 
parts of Canada. Those who live in the more remote 
areas of the country lack adequate television service. 



213 



although attempts have been made to provide service by 
such means as videotape shipments and low-power 
relay stations. Such remote areas will continue to be 
inadequately served until their population greatly 
increases or until direct satellite-to-viewer reception is 
possible. That isn't likely in the next decade. The 
number of such Canadians living in such areas is small, 
but their very remoteness and the lack of intellectual 
and entertainment amenities available to them should 
entitle them to high priority in extension of service. 

There is a steady reduction in the rural population of 
Canada as people continue to move to the cities. Within 
the next decade it is likely that fewer than 5 per cent of 
Canadians will be rural dwellers - that is. there will only 
be about 325,000 rural television homes. These viewers 
now receive whatever they can pick up off air from 
direct transmission, usually at least one cbc and one ctv 
station or relay. Their case for more and better 
television is a good one, for. after the remote areas, the 
rural sections of the country possess the fewest social 
facilities. If television is looked upon as a service to 
viewers, the factor of need dictates these priorities. 

Of the remaining television homes, those in our towns 
and cities, fully two-thirds are in areas where they can 
now or will be able very soon to subscribe to a cable 
system and so improve their choice of programs. (See 
Chart H.) There remain, however, over two million 
homes in areas which to date have not been commer- 
cially attractive enough for cable television to be intro- 
duced. 

The operation of the market place has led to the 
situation where large cities, the richest in other social 
amenities, are also the richest in television choice. The 
areas of Canada where television enrichment would be 
socially just, where the need is greatest, are those least 
well served. TTiere is an analogous situation for French- 
English minority viewers. Francophone viewers in 
English Canada and Anglophone viewers in French 
Canada (outside Montreal) have access to television 
choice on the level of rural areas - that is, only one or 
two channels. 

Television of broad choice is available to an 
increasing number of Canadians, but on a basis of what 
is profitable to the cable operator, not on a basis of 
greatest need. Broad choice is identified with the spread 
of cable. Cable has brought us the whole overwhelming 
U.S. television system and, thus, a diminution of the 
Canadian identity - all of the buttons on the converter 
are equal and anonymous. The "Golden Years" are a 
long way back. 

2. The Broadcaster 

The television broadcaster had far better hopes for an 
enlarging audience in the 1950s than he has today. 
Although his audience then was smaller, it had growth 
potential as more and more radio listeners bought 
television receivers and joined the ranks of the viewers. 
In many regions, a television broadcaster provided the 



only service and thus had 100 per cent of the audience. 
It is true that if he operated a station near the U.S. 
border, he had to compete for his audience with U.S. 
stations: but then he had some compensating advan- 
tages - he could carry U.S. programs, often ahead of 
their U.S. release, and he could offer a distinctive 
Canadian viewpoint and information to his Canadian 
viewers. Even the introduction of "second" Canadian 
stations in the 1960s did not senously threaten the 
existing cbc audience base, because the audience was 
growing so rapidly. What happened was that people 
simply watched more television. Revenues rose, the 
quality of Canadian programs rose, and gradually the 
Canadian stations gained the largest share of the 
Canadian audience - albeit with plenty of U.S. 
programming. 

Canadian broadcasters converted their broadcasting 
plants to colour before it was really economical for 
them to do so. Then, not long afterward, their audience 
share began to diminish as a result of the arrival on the 
scene of new cable companies which sprang up to 
provide improved colour reception for urban viewers. 
These companies also imported competitive signals 
which had hitherto not been available. .At first, the 
audience was fragmented by the wider choice offered by 
cable. Then revenues to broadcasters declined as the 
numbers of viewers fell. They declined still further as 
the U.S. border stations, brought to the market by 
cable, began to compete with the Canadian broad- 
casters not only for share of the audience, but also for 
the Canadian advertising dollars needed to finance their 
broadcasting. The situation was particularly bad for the 
private broadcasters. The cbc could look to increasing 
parliamentary appropriations to take the place of lost 
advertising revenue and to subsidize escalating program 
costs so It could continue to compete with the imported 
channels. But the private broadcasters were dependent 
on commercial revenues and at the same time under 
pressure from the crtc to extend coverage to more 
Canadians: this, of course, increased their operating 
costs, but there was not necessarily enough revenue 
from the additional audience to cover the increased 
costs. These factors led the private-station owners to 
economize by decreasing local service and by coopera- 
tively purchasing more of their programs with their 
fellow network stations. These developments resulted in 
a net loss to Canadian performers and artists. 

The CRTC tried to limit the number of stations carried 
bv the cable system by prohibiting the import of signals 
by microwave except into areas where even a 
community antenna would not provide good reception. 
The public, however, demanded choice. The crtc could 
not withstand the inevitable pressure and was forced to 
give in. Some broadcasters sought licences for cable 
systems in an effort to cross-subsidize their broad- 
casting. The CRTC opposed this on grounds that were 
never made clear. 

Alarmed bv the massive increase in non-Canadian 



214 



broadcasting now imported into Canada by cable, the 
CRK licensed a third Canadian network (Global) which 
promised much but which went bankrupt within a year. 
The new network exacerbated the situation for 
Canadian stations by still further fragmenting the 
audience. Furthermore, the additional competition of 
the new network raised program costs for all Canadian 
broadcasters. That resulted in reduced spending in the 
smaller markets in Canada. Ironically, Global's failure 
also set back independent program production in 
Canada and eliminated a number of smaller producers. 

The present owners of Global still struggle on with 
programs that are a reminder to the c ric of its lack of 
foresight and understanding. The ( rk was probably 
relieved when a similar network, approved for French 
Canada, was still-born. When the licencee tried to 
transfer his licence to another Francophone broad- 
caster, permission was refused. Now Canadian broad- 
casters contemplate the possibility of pay-TV, licensed 
as another channel, which would ct)mpete for the 
audiences who obviously approve of more and more 
choice as they fiock to subscribe to the cable systems. 

3. The Cable Operator 

The cable operator at first insisted that his role was 
simply to provide a more sophisticated antenna for 
attachment to subscribers' sets; this antenna made it 
possible for a television set to pick up more signals, 
originating from more distant locations. The subscriber 
simply paid the cable operator for the service. The cable 
operator protested that he was not a broadcaster and 
insisted on his right to remain outside of broadcasting 
and its responsibilities. Slowly and reluctantly he 
accepted the idea of being licensed and, somewhat 
cynically, he eventually even accepted the responsibility 
of originating local programs as part of the price. He is 
one of the few entrepreneurs who does not first have to 
own what he sells. Although he sells the programs 
broadcasters produce, he and his associates have tradi- 
tionally refused to admit any financial responsibility to 
or for Canadian conventional broadcasting. He is eager 
to increase the number of the programs he sells his 
subscribers by adding pay-TV to his other channels: for 
this right he is willing to pay for the films he would 
present on pay-TV and even to see some of his financial 
returns funnelled back to conventional broadcasting in 
some fashion decreed by the ( rtc. Even though he has 
vastly increased the available television fare in Canada, 
he insists that his is not a creative role - he is only a 
conduit pipe, a delivery man under contract to his 
clients, who number about 42 per cent of the television 
homes in Canada. 

4. The Regulator 

The ( RH has recently broadened its responsibility to 
add telecommunications to radio and television broad- 
casting. This seems a sensible move in that technology 



is bringing all three areas closer together and often into 
conflict. 

Canadian radio has developed into two fully-subsi- 
dized publicly-owned cac networks, avi and pm, neither 
of which carries advertising, and a parallel pnvate 
industry. The private stations compete with each other 
for income, and with each other and the cbc for 
audience. 

Television, however, is a .somewhat more clouded 
area. The cbc networks. English and French, are 80 per 
cent publicly financed but dependent for national disln- 
bution on privately owned television systems and cable 
operators as well as upon cBC-owned transmitters in 
some larger cities. The civ network, broadcasting in 
English only, is privately owned and financed by adver- 
tising. While competitive in most of the country, it lacks 
the money necessary to broaden its service. 

The Global network operates in Southern Ontario. 
Third stations in Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver 
have recently been licensed, and in the Toronto-Ham- 
ilton area there are two independent stations. The 
Ontario Government operates lhf stations in Toronto, 
Kitchener, London, Chatham, Windsor, and Ottawa 
and has plans to e-xtend its Tvo educational network to 
other parts of the province. 

In Quebec, there is tva, which presents French 
programs that are popular, but it lacks the revenues to 
compete seriously with Radio-Canada, the French 
network of the ( bc. Its programs are carried on a 
number of second stations. The Quebec government 
originates an educational program ser\ ice in French, 
which is relayed by microwave to a number of cable 
systems. There are no third stations as there are in 
English Canada. 

The CRTC has had two main aims for Canadian 
broadcasting: to increase the coverage to as many 
Canadians as possible and to increase the Canadian 
content of what is broadcast. It was so preoccupied with 
these efli"orts that it failed to see the implications of the 
rapidly developing cable systems until late in the 1960s. 
because cable did not appreciably increase either 
coverage or content. The importation of large numbers 
of non-Canadian stations into areas w hich had not 
previously been able to receive them is a threat to the 
privately financed Canadian stations. But by the lime 
the ( R u recognized this, it was too late to do anything 
about it. The public wanted the extra choices that cable 
provided and did not appear to be o\ eriy concerned 
with questions of Canadian content or Canadian broad- 
casting financing problems. 

The ( RH tried belatedly to protect Canadian private 
stations by limiting the number of distant signals cable 
companies could carry, but it was swimming against the 
tide. In a forlorn attempt to gain something for the 
viewer and for creative individuals in the community, 
they required cable systems to originate a local service. 
However, few of the cable operators have any television 
broadcasting background or any desire to be producers. 



215 



They would prefer to buv and show old movies. In any will successively strangle the private sector of Canadian 

case, it has been difficult' to delect much audience for television and eventually bury the cbc. 

their community programming efforts. 

The CRTC refused to allow cross-ownership of conven- 
tional television and cable, as some television operators 
proposed. Their idea was to use cable earnings to 
replace the advertising profits lost by audience 
fragmentation caused by cable and to use cable cash 
flow to support borrowings. In retrospect, that crtc 
decision was probably a fatal error. Now, seven years 
later, the original suggestion is being advanced once 
more bv the federal Minister of Communications in an 
effort to prevent the further erosion of Canadian televi- 
sion. But it is in all probability too late. Had the crtc 
permitted cross-ownership in 1970-1972. at the time of 
its repatriation of foreign-owned cable assets, broad- 
casters would have found it financially possible. By 
now. cable and conventional television would have been 
inextricably interwoven, quite logically and naturally. 
The CRTC would have been saved the embarrassment of 
subsequent problems. Now the assets involved are 
probably beyond the resources of Canadian broad- 
casters. Because cable and broadcasting are not so 
interwoven, provincial governments feel free to mount 
claims to regulate cable operations, and the jurisdic- 
tional squabble remains unresolved. 

In a further move to protect the Canadian content of 
the broadcasting system, the crtc in 1975 began to 

require the deletion and substitution of the commercials 

incoming U.S. stations carried on cable systems. This 

has enraged the U.S. border stations, who, naturally 

enough, are not eager to lose the revenues their 

Canadian audiences bring to them. The U.S. Secretary 

of State recently protested to the Canadian Minister for 

External Affairs, an old broadcaster himself, and the 

Minister is quoted as saying "something would be 

done". At the time of writing, the crtc has "temporarily 

suspended" the deletion of the commercials. 
The problem facing the crtc is that Canadians are 

subscribing to a television system of broad, but not 

national, choice. The Canadian content and character 

of the service are being steadily reduced because they 

have licensed more Canadian private television stations 

than can be supported by the available advertising 

revenues. Those revenues are being further shrunk by 

the cable-imported U.S. competition. 
The cbc can, of course, ask for even larger parlia- 

mentar\ appropriations, but this takes it progressively 

in the direction of a wholly government-financed system 

of broadcasting with a completely different set of 

problems - credibility, control, and freedom of 

expression - problems with which many national 

systems, such as those of France and Italy, are still 

grappling. 

The clear and present danger is that the rapidly 

developing Canadian cable broad-choice system, with 

its dependency on foreign stations plucked from the air. 



216 



Chapter Four 

Problems for Canadian Television Production 



The most pressing problem for Canadian television 
production is, of course, money. 

Just as important, however, is the creative climate in 
the centres of production. The CBc has historically been 
the chief television producer in Canada. However, it has 
not, on the whole, done as much proportionately as the 
privately owned television networks to provide a 
creative climate. It has done little to build up the 
supporting industry of creative artists - producers, 
directors, and skilled production people - outside its 
own in-house staff. It has instead functioned somewhat 
as a greenhouse, controlling its own climate but not 
affectmg or being affected by the climate outside. 

This was the tradition of ( ik radio and it was early 
adopted by c Bt television. It led to a rapid increase in 
creative staff. Even though budgets always seemed tight. 
CBC television became self-serving, less efficient, and less 
competitive with those few creative individuals and 
companies on the "outside". More and more of the 
costs of making programs were in the form of internal 
charges, higher than necessary, labelled as production 
costs. 

Worse, however, was that the outside supporting 
creative "envelope" did not expand. This was true of 
film production for many years, until film, finding its 
own markets, established its own creative, local world. 
This has not happened for electronic production. Until 
the situation is remedied, there can be no renaissance in 
Canadian television production. Budgets, not talent, are 
usually cited as the chief reason that Canadian 
television programs have not found many markets 
outside their own country, as U.S., British, or even 
Australian programs have done. But there is good 
reason to believe that the skills to produce are as lacking 
in Canada as the talent. Jalna. produced at great cost by 
the c Be , is a case in point. 

In the United States, the three major networks have 
done proportionately more to nurture their necessary 
creative climate by employing extensively on a free- 
lance basis. U.S. networks produce only two or three 
programs (other than news) on their own: the rest are 
the work of independent producers. It is worthy of note 



that this situation came about because of directives 
from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. 

Providing more money for programming will not 
alone make Canadian television productions compe- 
titive with U.S. programs. If even the monies now- 
available were spent in a free-lance market instead of 
internally, the quality of people available would shortly 
improve and their numbers would multiply. TTiis would 
lead to greater economies within the cbc , by the elimi- 
nation of supporting, clerical, accounting, and super- 
visory staff. (See Chart J.) Independent producers can 
do as well and for less money. It would make the cbc 
dependent on the creative world outside, but it would 
put the Corporation in a better position to make 
unbiased judgments about its programs. Creativity 
flourishes in freedom and competition, which are both 
lacking at present in Canadian television. 

The privately owned ctv. with much less revenue, has 
done a better job than the cbc in attracting outside co- 
production, because it had no other alternative. But crv 
alone cannot establish a creative climate. This can only 
happen when the normal way of making programs for 
television is by competition among producers and 
directors and writers, as is the case in most of the 
world's large production centres. 

There should also be less emphasis on regional 
production for national distribution until the large 
centres - Toronto. Montreal, and perhaps \ancouver - 
have achieved the climate and developed the body of 
fiercely competing creative people that can raise the 
standards of present Canadian television production. .At 
this stage, it would be better to make fewer, better 
regional programs for national release than the 
imitation national programs now produced in most of 
the regions. Ten feature films shot in regional locations 
would be better than a hundred of the present programs 
seen. U.S. television series are frequently set in different 
regions of the country, but the performers and the 
production staff usually are from the main centres. 
Chicago. Houston and New Orleans are not national 
production centres for L'.S. television - why should we 
expect Halifax or Winnipeg to be national centres? 

It is important to discu.ss climate and circumstances 



217 



before money, because simply increasing the money 
available for Canadian television will not cause more 
Canadians to watch programs made in Canada. The 
production climate has to change first. But it cannot 
change without considerably more money - at least two 
to three times the present sums available for television 
production. If the quantity of Canadian programs is to 
increase, as well as the quality, such a budgetary 
increase must be accompanied by efficiency. An 
increase in program budgets of two or three times, 
accompanied by a radical change in employment 
practices, will produce a startling improvement in 
Canadian television. 



218 



Chapter Five 

The Cost of the Present System 



Radio and television in Canada, which once were 
organized along similar lines, have now diverged. 

The existing radio broadcasting system consisted of 
the publicl) owned ( B( networks, with revenues from 
advertising and parliamentary appropriations, and 
privately owned stations whose revenues were derived 
from advertising only. Recently, cbc radio, whose 
advertising revenues had in any case been gradually 
dwindling, changed its policy and it now carries no 
advertising. 

Advertising revenues for private radio stations will be 
about $213.6 million in 1976, compared with $305.0 
million received by all Canadian television stations. 
(Source: Maclean-Hunter Research Bureau.) Parlia- 
mentary appropriations will provide about $100 million 
for CBC radio. The pattern seems now set a wholly 
government-financed system and a wholly privately 
financed system. Together thev provide both local and 
national services. While there are still varying opinions 
about what the nature of the ( bc program service 
should be. by and large the system seems to work. 

Television broadcasting also consists of both public and 
privately financed segments — the c bc (English) and 
Radio-Canada (French), private television stations, 
and cable operators. Revenues for 1976 are estimated 
as follows; 



($ mil 



Parliamentary appropriations (cbc) 
Advertisina (including ( bc ) 
Cable 



ions) 
316 
305 
190 



TOTAL: 



Of the total, perhaps $375 million is available for pro- 
gramming in all Canadian television. Cable penetration 
is about 42 percent (2.500.000) of all television homes. 

Assuming that no basic policy changes were made in 
the present system and that economic development in 
the country followed the average of past years, the pro- 
jected revenues available would be something like this: 



1977 

Parliamentary appropriations 
(average rale of acceleration 
for past 3 years — / 7.8%) 

Advertising (including CBC) 

Cable 

. (average rate of past 4 years) 

TOTAL; 



Available for programming 
(6(y7c of parliameniarv 
appropriations + advertising) 

Penetration of cable 
(CRTC average rate of 
past 3 years) 



1978 

Parliamentary appropriations 
.Advertising (including cbc) 
Cable 



Available for programming 
Penetration of cable 



1979 

Parliamentary appropriations 
.Advertising (including cbc ) 
Cable 

TOTAL: 



.Available for pnigramming 
Penetration of cable 



(S millions) 

372.3 



329.2 
210.6 



912.1 
420.9 



2,900.000 homes 
{44.57c) 



438.5 
355.2 
265.4 



476.2 
3.400.000 homes 

(51.5'r) 



515.6 
383.1 
330.5 

1,229.2 



539.2 

4.(XX).000 homes 

(61'^) 



219 



1980 



1985 



Parliamentary appropriations 
Advertisina (includins cbc) 
Cable 

TOT.AL: 

.'Available for programming 
Penetration of cable 



1981 

Parliamentary appropriations 
.Advertisins (including cbc) 
Cable 

TOT.^L: 

Available for programming 
Penetration of cable 



(Sole: no growth of cable penetration shown after 1981 
but subscription rate acceleration of6'7c assumed). 



1982 



Parliamentary appropriations 
Advertisins (includina cbc) 
Cable 



TOT.\L: 



Available for programming 
Penetration of cable 



1983 

Parliamentary appropriations 
.Advertising (including esc) 
Cable 

TOTAL; 

Available for programming 
Penetration of cable 



1984 

Parliamentary appropriations 
Advertisina (includina cbc) 
Cable 

TOTAL: 

Available for program.ming 
Penetration of cable 



608.5 


Parliamentary appropriations 


1.380.4 


412.5 


Advertising (includina cbc) 


587.5 


407.1 


Cable 


696.8 


1.428.1 


TOTAL: 


2.664.7 


612.6 


Available for programming 


1.180.7 


4.600.000 homes 


Penetration of cable 


5.200.000 homes 


(68.66%) 




(77%) 




1986 


(S millions) 


($ millions) 


Parliamentary appropriations 


1,626.1 


716.6 


Advertising (including cbc) 


622.5 


447.5 


Cable 


736.6 


491.7 


TOTAL: 


2,987.2 


1.655.8 








Available for programming 


1,349.0 


698.4 


Penetration of cable 


5,200.000 homes 


5.200.000 homes 




(77%) 


(77%) 


1987 




wnafter IWI. 






ssumed). 


Parliamentary appropriations 


1,915.5 




Advertising (including cbc) 


657.5 




Cable 


780.8 




TOTAL: 


3,353.6 


844.4 
447.5 


Available for programming 
Penetration of cable 


1,543.6 
5.200,000 homes 


585.0 




(77%) 


1.876.9 


1988 




835.0 


Parliamentar\ appropriations 


2.256.5 


5.200.000 homes 


Advertisina (includina cbc) 


692.5 


(77%) 


Cable 


827.7 




TOTAL: 


3.736.7 




Available for programming 


1.769.4 


994.7 


Penetration of cable 


5.200.000 homes 


517.5 




(77%) 


620.2 







2.132.3 

907.3 

5.200.000 homes 

(77%) 



1,171.8 

552.5 
657.4 

2.381.7 

1.040.5 

5,200,000 homes 

(77%) 



The problems of the present system are easily defined 
but hard to solve. 

1. The English service available to viewers is becoming 
marginallv Canadian as choice expands. 

2. English-Canadian programs do not attract as many 
Canadian viewers as do foreign programs. 

3. The system provides neither the climate nor the money 
needed for Canadian programs to improve. 

4. While cable grows as a factor in the revenue structure of the 
Canadian system, none of its revenues are available to support 
and improve the programs it relays. 

5. Advertising revenues, the mainstay of private television and 
at present about 20 per cent of the CBC television budget, are 
likelv to reduce further as fragmentation of audience increases. 
(In the figures above, no calculation has been made of such 
deterioration.) 



220 



6. The system can never he available lo all Canadians because, 
as prcsenlly designed, there is no incentive to extend cable into 
rural areas. 

7. Regulatory decisions have separated the natural partners, 
cable and conventional broadcasting, creating a hostile climate 
in the industry. 

8. Lack of cohesion among the participating components of 
television broadcasting prevents the logical development of 
technology. 

9. The cost of even an unsatisfactory television system will 
constantly increase and drift more and more to a v/holly 
government-financed system. 

In the next five years, parliameniarv appropriations for 
television (c lu ) will total about .$2.6 billion if they accel- 
erate at the average rale of past years. In 1981. if table 
installations proceed at present rates, about 75 per cent 
of Canada will be wired up; this is about as far as the 
present system can expand commercially. (See Chart 
H.) That would leave about two million homes with 
second-class or worse service. If the present system, 
providing service to only three-quarters of Canadian 
television homes, were continued past 1981. parlia- 
mentary appropriations by 1988 would total almost $13 
billion, with the likelihood that an even smaller 
proportion of Canadians would be watching Canadian 
programs on a service that was massively foreign and 
unresponsive to Canadian control. 

The cost of the present system will go on increasing in 
the years ahead, both for viewers and for the govern- 
ment. But the irony of the system is that, as costs go up 
the quality of Canadian programs will go down, 
especially in the private sector. Meanwhile, increases in 
cable penetration will encourage Canadian viewers to 
watch more American programs and fewer Canadian 
programs. As this happens, advertising revenues will 
decline. This in turn will lead to further reductions in 
Canadian viewing of Canadian programs as they 
decline in quality in response to lower supporting 
revenues. Inevitably, the ( b< parliamentary appropria- 
tions will have to be increased. In the long run, viewers 
will pay more and more for less and less Canadian 
programming. The equation will not change under the 
present system, nor will the condition in the industry 
that would enable improvement in television produc- 
tion. 

As noted above, there is little likelihood that cable 
penetration will ever exceed 75 per cent of Canadian 
television homes - the level likely to be reached at 
present rates by 1981. For the remaining one-quarter of 
television homes, there will be no broad choice nor any 
increase in service unless it is wholly subsidized, or 
unless the system is redesigned. Parliamentary appropri- 
ations will have to he continued at no less than the 
present rate of acceleration and possibU at an increased 
rate, if, 75 per cent cable penetration reduces the ability 
of private conventional television to sustain its present 
level of prograninung. When this occurs, the advertising 
revenues will decrease nt)t only l\)r the private sector, 
but for the < H( also. 



And how is one to estimate the cost of the depressing 
effect on the Canadian creative arts, as viewers become 
more and more dependent on American programs with 
their superior production values and heavy reliance on 
violence as a reliable theme? 

It is unthinkable that such a prospect should be the 
future for Canada. Surely public opinion would force a 
change, just as the introduction of public broadcasting 
changed the future of Canadian radio broadcasting in 
1933. 

What is needed urgently is a contemporary broad- 
casting system and a Broadcasting Act that will provide 
a distinctively Canadian service that can be seen by all 
Canadians and that the country can and will afford. We 
should be at work on such a system now. 



221 



Chapter Six 

Horizontal versus Vertical 



Present-day television can be described as 
"horizontally" structured. A station or network 
schedules programs of different kinds, one after the 
other, from morning to night. Each station manager 
tries to present programs at times of the day convenient 
to the kind of audience he wants to attract. All stations 
in a given area compete for their share of the total 
audience at any given time. 

The horizontal structure has developed because the 
total service is provided by uncoordinated, separate 
authorities whose concern is to obtain the largest share 
of the audience at any given time. In areas of cable 
availability, two stations may be carrying the same 
programs at the same hour, both relayed by the cable 
system. Such duplication can occur when a U.S. station 
being relayed by a cable system is carrying a U.S. 
program which is also being carried by a Canadian 
network, or where two Canadian network affiliates are 
available in overlapping markets. Or the same programs 
may be carried by both U.S. and Canadian stations at 
slightly offset times, resulting in partial overlap. 

Honzontal scheduling increases the possibilitv that 
the same program will appear simultaneously on more 
than one channel on the cable dial and also that similar 
kinds of programs are scheduled in competition for the 
average audience considered to be available. This is 
especially true of adult viewing hours. 

The horizontal system is the normal pattern of 
program availability in all countries with competing 
systems of television broadcasting. Cable television has 
accentuated the competition of the service by intro- 
ducing more and more horizontally scheduled 
programs. 

The horizontal system, if it is not profit-motivated, 
programs for the average audience composition that 
may be expected and, if it is profit-motivated, for the 
most lucrative audience. Under such a svstem. even 
with a wide choice provided by a cable system 
converter, children's programs (for example) are not 
seen in great quantity, because the children's audience 
is not considered lucrative. A general audience - or one 
predominantly female, especially if urban and 
"upscale" - is the prime target audience, for it contains 



more consumers, more paying customers for the goods 
and services advertised. This is why small minonty 
audiences often find httle of interest to them at times 
when they can watch, even on a broad-choice cable 
service. They are not of interest as consumers. This is 
also why a wide variety of general or adult 
programming is available at times when children are 
most apt to be viewing. Such programs are not neces- 
sarily bad: they are simply not pertinent to. nor 
designed for, children. 

It is ironic that cable also provides the possibility of 
improving program scheduling and availability, but 
there is no incentive for the cable companies to do so. 
In fact, because of the definition of the Broadcasting 
Act and the regulations of the crtc, cable systems are 
required to be merely relay mechanisms of what they 
pick up off-air. This requirement has resulted in all of 
the disadvantages in our present system already 
described - bad technical quality, fragmentation of the 
Canadian audience, reduced Canadian viewing of 
Canadian programs, limitations of choice by 
overlapping or duplication, the failure to program at 
convenient hours to minority audiences, and the general 
prevalence of adult programming at all times. 

With the increasing penetration of cable television, it 
is technically possible to avoid many of these shortcom- 
ings, provided the programs have been designed for a 
genuinely broad-choice system. They are not so 
designed at present - and cannot be, as broadcasting 
exists today. To do so would require a sweeping change 
in Canadian broadcasting and the development of 
vertical programming based on channels specialized by 
program category. 

A vertically-scheduled service, as descnbed below, 
would enable the viewer to choose his own program 
schedule according to his interest at whatever time of 
day he chose to watch. It would enable children's 
programming to be scheduled in greater variety and 
quantity than is possible in the horizontal system, and 
in a way easier for parents to monitor. Programs of 
adult appeal could be more easily scheduled and at later 
hours. 

All of the programs in all categories would be 



222 



commissioned or purchased and originated by the 
system itself. Canadian and foreign programs in similar 
categories would be scheduled in juxtaposition to each 
other. 1 here would be no need for a Canadian quota 
system - the emphasis would be on quality and interest 
in whatever category. If desired, advertising could be 
excluded at particular times or from particular 
channels. 

Vertically programmed television would be planned 
and scheduled by an independent coordinating 
authority. In Canada there should be separate sched- 
uling operations for English and French programs. To 
start, 12 channels could be vertically programmed. This 
number is chosen because all television sets can receive 
this number without a converter. It also coincides with 
the number of satellite channels presently available for 
the national distribution such a system would require. 

As the system enlarged and more channels became 
available, even more possibilities would emerge. 
Repeats of programs at different hours, as well as 
narrower categories of programming, could be 
presented - sports, music, documentary, foreign- 
language programs, et cetera. The system could contain 
all of the Canadian programs that could be made, 
together with almost all available English and French 
foreign programming - a very rich system of broader 
and broader choice. All of the ( B( radio services, in 
both languages, could be distributed to all pans of 
Canada in i m quality, a much more efficient distri- 
bution than that presently in use. 



223 



Chapter Seven 

An Alternative System 



An ideal television broadcasting system for Canada 
would be one that had the money and the creative 
industry to make enough high-quality programs - which 
would compare well with those of other countries, 
especially the United States - to attract viewers as a 
matter of their choice. These programs, together with a 
broad selection of the best and most popular foreign 
programs, should be available to all Canadians in both 
national languages. They should be scheduled vertically 
on at least 12 channels so that, whatever their taste, 
viewers could see the kinds of programs they wished to 
see at their convenience rather than having to confront 
the constrained availability of parallel competition in 
horizontal broadcasting. The system should be able to 
stimulate the growth of creative Canadian talent of all 
kinds and to make efficient use of technical facilities. It 
should be as independent of government or partisan 
influence as possible, subject to federal regulation but 
not direction. It should be capable of expansion both 
technically and culturally and should be in harmony 
with Canadian aspirations. 

As demonstrated below, most of these goals are 
achievable, and for about the same price the present 
system will cost. However, it would require a radical 
revision of present regulatory policy, the restructuring 
of the industry as it now stands, and the creation of a 
new broadcasting organization. 

Let us call the centrepiece of the new system 
Television Canada and imagine a scenario for the 1980s. 

By 1983, Television Canada would provide cable 
connections to most Canadian homes and arrange 
substitute transmissions to those remaining. Both parts 
of the system would carry at least 12 separate channels 
of programs (over 200 hours each day). All of the 
channels programmed by Television Canada, in both 
official languages, would be available in all parts of the 
country. The new construction program would service 
the two million deprived homes unlikely to be served by 
present cable systems. The present wired areas would 
provide service to the balance of Canadian homes. 

National distribution would be accomplished by 
feeding the 12 channels by existing Telesat satellite 
service simultaneously to all present cable distribution 



centres, and by gridding the balance of the country to 
provide satellite reception points. The latter would be 
connected by trunk cable to conventional drops, in 
some cases: other points would be connected by 
package "stacked translators" which would allow the 12 
signals to be received by conventional television sets 
within radii of about 50 miles. As these areas were wired 
up, the translators would be moved to more and more 
remote areas. The new system would have an unprece- 
dented reach to virtually all Canadians. 

Canadians living near enough to the U.S. border to 
obtain direct reception could still receive U.S. stations. 
For those connected to cable systems that at present 
relay more than 12 channels to subscribers with 
converters, the 12 basic channels on cable could be 
augmented temporarily by off-air signals, as at present. 
Subscribers would find, however, that most of the 
popular off-air U.S. programs would be available on the 
basic 12-channel service, rescheduled according to 
category of program. 

All Canadians, as they were wired by cable, would 
pay the same rate as those already subscnbing. The 
rates would be the same as average current cable 
charges ($75 per year- 1976) increasing at the rate of 6 
per cent per year. (See Chart A.) 

Along with the engineering required to plan and 
commission the wiring up of the country, it would be 
necessary to create the programming organization 
required to program 12 simultaneous, categorized 
channels, expanding to more channels in later years. 
The new priority would be to plan and commission or 
purchase more than 200 hours of daily programs to feed 
12 channels simultaneously. This would require an 
overall coordinating group to set the goals, develop 
technical and program policies, and allocate funds 
among groups of planners responsible for each channel. 

There would be competition among the planners for 
funds but there would be no competition for audience 
numbers. The responsibilities of each planner would be 
to procure or create the programs within his program 
category and to schedule them. He would have access to 
viewers" reaction to his selection, because the cable 
connections would enable a feedback of selected panels 



224 



to give instantaneous and continuous reaction. He 
would iiave the world to supply him in addition to what 
he ordered from Canadian producers. Since Canadian 
programs wt)uld be presented side by side with foreign 
programs of similar genres, Canadian producers would 
have much to aspire to. Canadian talent would benefit 
in the scheduling by category. There would be no 
throw-away Canadian programs scheduled merely to 
meet the c ri< quota. 

Yet the goals suggested for Television Canada will 
emphasize the need for more and better Canadian 
production and will, as described below, provide more 
and more funds to enable it to take place. In the 
beginning there would likely be a great deal of good 
non-Canadian programming but, as creative compe- 
tition generated the production of more and better 
Canadian programs, the number of non-Canadian 
programs would not decrease - for. by then, additional 
channels would be available and more and more 
material could be added. Inevitably, Canadian 
production - excellent then by any standard - would 
also increase. 

The wealth of non-Canadian programs would 
increase the richness of the new Canadian system but 
would not submerge the Canadian-created programs as 
the present system does. Conversely, the new system 
would be likely to produce more and more Canadian 
programs of mterest to other countries: generating 
important revenues for the new system, its private 
producers, and performers. 

Some idea of possible future resources in comparison 
with those now available will illustrate the possibilities. 
Current funds available tor television programming 
come from Parliamentary appropnations to the c bc and 
from advertising (ignoring the local programs of cable 
systems). In Chapter 5. "The Cost of the Present 
System", it was estimated that about S375 million would 
be available for programs in all languages on all televi- 
sion, private and cbc, in 1976. With increased adver- 
tising revenues and increased Parliamentary 
appropriations at average rates of increase, the amount 
available for programming could rise to $421 million in 
1977 and to $476 million in 1978. In contrast, for the 
year 1978. the new svstcin could budget $938 million, 
rising by 1988 to $ 1 .68 billion. (See cliart D.) 

In addition to having more money to purchase 
programs, the new system (being the only buyer) would 
face no competitive bidding for non-Canadian 
programming, enabling it to purchase programs at 
lower rates than at present. The average price for a one- 
hour nationallv distributed program in 1973 was 
approximately' $3.0(X); in 1976. about S7.000 per 
episode. For half-hours, costs have increased from 
$1,800 to $4,000 per episode. Since the system will 
purchase nearly all of the U.S. popular series, savings of 
this dimension are important. 

The much smaller staff of Television Canada 
(detailed below) will soak up a much smaller proportion 



of total available funds. Television Canada for 1978 
would budget onl> $43 million for all staff, S35 million 
for satellite costs, $1 18 million for installations and 
maintenance of drops and writing. (See Chart D.) This 
would represent a total of $196 million for distribution 
costs and administration, or 18.5 per cent of the total 
budget. The amount budgeted for the purchase of 
programs, including all production costs, would be $895 
million. In the private sector of the present system. 40 
per cent of revenue goes to distribution and adminis- 
trative costs: the percentage is even higher in the rsc. 

During the first years of operation, the system would 
show a deficit because of heavy capital expenses in 
wiring up the country by new construction and by the 
purchase of all drops installed by the present cable 
operators prior to the initiation of the new system. 
However, by 1982, the system would be debt-free, even 
after paying interest for the deficit period from 1978 to 
1982. By 1983. the country could be substantially wired 
up. By 1984, Parliamentary appropriations could be 
reduced to about $300 million and further reduced to 
$I(X) million annually by 1987. The figures in Chart D 
show an accumulated surplus in excess of SI billion by 
1988: this does not take into account interest earned on 
accumulated funds or revenues from the sale of 
programs to foreign countries. 

At present. Ontario, particularly the southern and 
eastern parts, receives the largest selection of Canadian 
programs. Ignoring the duplicated Canadian stations 
available on cable, in Toronto, two cbc. one ctv, one 
Global, one t\o, and two independent stations 
broadcast about 123 hours a day and four U.S. stations 
broadcast about 90 hours. The 123 Canadian hours (18 
in French) contain about 56 hours of U.S. programs 
seen also on the U.S. stations. The total of 213 hours 
daily is 33.3 per cent Canadian (28.6 per cent English, 
4.7 per cent French). ActualK. the proportion of 
Canadian programs is less than this amount, because 
programs transmitted after midnight, usually foreign, 
are not computed for crtc quota requirements. For 
cable subscribers with a converter, seven more channels 
are available, including additional ( bc and c tv stations 
which largelv duplicate the basic coverage, additional 
U.S. stations, and some service channels, carrying 
printed news and stock market reports, community 
notes, and cable-originated programs. .Most converters 
provide a capacity of up to 36 channels, some currently 
unused. A calculation of the proportion of available 
Canadian content using a converter would be even 
lower. 

In Ottawa, viewers can receive off-air four English 
and two French local stations. On cable, there are 
additional Canadian stations, largely duplicates of the 
local coverage, plus four L'.S. stations. On the main 
Quebec cable svstems (such as in Hull), the closed- 
circuit programs o( Radio-Quebec are relayed for eight 
hours daily. Taking Ottawa as a bilingual area, there are 
106 hours of Canadian programs (70 hours English and 



225 



36 hours French) daily and. on cable, 72 hours of U.S. 
programs, for a total of 178 hours daily in addition to 
the normal cable services. Allowing for the foreign 
content in the Canadian programs, the Canadian 
percentage on cable is 28 (18.5 per cent English and 9.5 
per cent French). 

A comparison of the hours of programs available to a 
cable subscriber in the most saturated markets in 
Canada with those available to any American viewer 
will show that the Canadian cable subscriber has more 
television to see. But it is very difficult to use this wide 
choice efficiently because of its competitive scheduling. 
Even a 12-channel vertical schedule could contain more 
hours available for convenient viewing than most cable 
systems, and the channels would cater to a much larger 
variety of tastes. In addition, it would be possible to 
provide programs of higher quality than are now 
available and to eliminate the "wastelands" of major 
parts of the broadcast day. 

It would be possible to deliver 216 hours daily on a 
12-channel system, providing a viewing span from 7:00 
a.m. to 1 :00 a.m. on each channel. (Spans could be 
increased as required.) Material from the region could 
be transmitted to the central points of distribution 
during off hours ( 1 :00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.) for release 
between 7:00 a.m. to 1 :00 a.m. 

Here is a sample division of a 12-channel vertically 
scheduled national service of seven English channels 
and five French converting to a six-channel service in 
English and a six-channel service in French as 
additional satellite capacity is available. In French- 
speaking areas, the English regional Channel 8 would 
be replaced by a French equivalent and the capacity of 
the first French entertainment channel increased to a 
full day. This would provide a seven-English - five- 
French service in English Canada and a six-English - 
six-French service in French Canada, receivable on a 
standard 12-channel set. The English News and Public 
Affairs channel is elongated to provide live news (not 
delayed) in all time zones. Note that, because of heavy 
duplication in the present horizontal system, seven 
vertical channels are more than equal to 12 horizontal 
channels. 



7 a.m. to 1 a.m. (English) 
7 a.m. to I a.m. (English) 
7 a.m. to 1 a.m. (English) 



Channel 2 
Entertainment I 

Channel 3 
Entertainment II 

Channel 4 
Entertainment III 

Channel 5 

News and Public Affairs 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. (English) 

Channel 6 

Serious Entertainment 7 a.m. to I a.m. (English) 

Channel 7 

Children's Programming 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (English) 

Cinema 7 p.m. to I a.m. (English) 



Channel 8 

Regional. Educational, 

Consumer Information 

Channel 9 

Regional, Educational, 

Information 

Entertainment I 

Channel 10 
Entertainment II 

Channel 1 1 

News and Public Affairs 

Channel 12 

Serious Entertainment 

Channel 13 

Children's Programming 

Cinema 



8 a.m. to 12 a.m. (English) 

7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (French) 
7 p.m. to I a.m. (French) 

7 a.m. to I a.m. (French) 

7 a.m. to 1 a.m. (French) 

7 a.m. to I a.m. (French) 

7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (French) 
7 p.m. to I a.m. (French) 



Sports could be provided on any of the entertainment 
channels, or on specialized sports channels when 
additional channel capacity becomes available. 

As discussed below, additional satellite capacity 
would provide increased possibilities for varying 
program proportions, linguistically or otherwise. In 
addition to the factor of population size, there is more 
English programming than French because more of the 
English content is foreign, and less foreign material is 
available in French. Disparity in English and French 
services is traditional in Canada but this system would 
considerably reduce this disparity. 

The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Bicul- 
turalism reported that more French Canadians than 
English Canadians were bilingual, in a ratio of four to 
one. Programming in English, particularly U.S. 
programming, is becoming more popular among 
Francophones. There is less viewing by English 
Canadians of Canadian programs made in French, 
because fewer Anglophones understand French and 
those who do are not always located in areas where 
French-language programming is available. Widespread 
availability of a broad-choice television system in 
French Canada, with a greater proportion of U.S. enter- 
tainment programming than available at present, would 
likely reinforce bilingualism among Francophones. But 
Anglophones will likely have to be politically, economi- 
cally, and culturally motivated to learn another 
language. The availability of French programs will help 
them to learn if thev wish to do so. and will make it 
easier for them to be in touch with the development of 
Francophone culture in Canada. 

At present, only Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta 
produce "educational" programs for television, but 
other provinces are moving in a similar direction. TTie 
Quebec programs are all in French - about four hours a 
dav. repeated to provide 56 hours each week. They are 
distributed by Quebec cable companies but cannot 
reach all French-Canadian viewers. The TVOntario 



226 



programs, mostly in English, bul including daily 
French-language programs are broadcast on three 
transmitters in the Toronto, London, Kitchener, 
Chatham, Windsor, and Ottawa areas and are partially 
carried on cable. 

Some of the i\o programs are non-Canadian, 
purchased from the U.S. Public Broadcasting System 
and other .sources. These would likciv be included in the 
normal content of a vertically scheduled service. The 
inception of a broad-choice national television service 
would probably alter the type of educational television 
.services now produced by Canadian provinces. They 
would likely become more specifically regional and 
mt)re pedagogically oriented. Programs of this kind 
produced by the provinces, and available to all 
provinces, would be valuable in increasing national 
awareness and promotmg a stronger federalism. 

For the first few years of a vertically programmed 
television .service in Canada, a limiting factor would be 
the 12-channel capacity of the satellite delivery service. 
Although It could deliver all 12 channels of programs 
nationally, it could not provide separate feeds for each 
time zone. Present television programs are adjusted to 
the Canadian time zones by tape delay of a separate 
western feed from the Eastern time zone. As a compro- 
mise, utilizing an Eastern time zone-fed satellite 
delivery. Maritime viewers would see the programs one 
hour later, local time, and Central time zone viewers, 
one hour earlier, local time; distribution to Mountain 
and Pacific time zones would be delayed by tape at the 
ground receiving or distribution point (A variation of 
this approach is already in use in the United States.) 

New satellites now being planned by Telesat, to be 
available around 1983, will provide additional capacity, 
will be better designed for television relay, and will 
operate at somewhat lower rates. 

With additional satellite capacity it would be 
possible, for example, to transmit 16 channels by 
satellite and select, on the ground at the point of recep- 
tion, 12 channels to be relayed m any given area. This 
would provide a larger proportion of French or English 
service in any given area without the use of a converter. 
With a converter, all 16 channels would be available. It 
may well be that as cable distribution becomes the 
normal method of television distribution in Canada, the 
converter will become an integral part of the receiver. 
Such receivers are already manufactured in Canada. 
But, in most parts of Canada, 12 well-utilized channels 
would provide such an improvement in cjuantitv and 
quality of television and such a challenge to producers, 
that this number would be suflncient for some time to 
come. 

As they became available, additional channels would 
of course provide for additional new material. They 
could also spread out the contents of the 12 channels 
and present more frequent replays on different patterns, 
enabling still more convenience to the viewer at only a 
small additional cost to the system. It would also 
simplify the problem posed by Canada's si.\ time zones 



- two more (Atlantic and Newfoundland) than in the 
United Slates. The satellite off-time could be used to 
deliver more and more regional material to Television 
Canada for retransmission in the national transmissions 
available to the entire country. 



227 



Chapter Eight 

The Structure Of The New Canadian Broadcasting System 



The new system would consist of three components: 
one. publicly owned and financed, to be responsible for 
the content of the service, to be styled Television 
Canada: the second, privately operated, to provide the 
technical and production services needed to make 
programs and maintain a national cable service, to be 
called Television Canada Facilities: and third, and in 
many ways the most important, the large body of 
creative individuals - writers, artists, designers, actors, 
singers, producers, directors, journalists, production 
assistants, costume designers, and agents - that would 
make up the free-lance creative world on which 
Canadian television depends. 

Television Canada would consist of a relatively small 
coordinating, planning, and scheduling organization of 
less than 1.000 employees. 

The staff would come from the present components 
of television broadcasting in Canada - the cbc. private 
television, and the cable companies. Each of these 
would disappear into Television Canada, which would 
become the single national television broadcasting 
agency in the country. Its structure would not, however, 
resemble that of present conventional television. 

A new privately-operated company. Television 
Canada Facilities, would be formed to provide facilities 
for the production of programs, the installation and 
maintenance (but not ownership) of cable drops and 
connecting wiring, and a sales agency for the sale of 
advertising time on the new service (as determined by 
Television Canada). 

Production organizations would form quickly to 
provide programs for Television Canada. Under free 
and smaller competitive enterprises, the quality of 
Canadian programs would improve, as it does in other 
major producing countries. And because more money 
would be available and less would be spent on unneces- 
sary overhead, the creative world would enlarge and 
prosper. 

The immediate goals of Television Canada would be to 
schedule and originate 12 channels of programming and 
distribute it to all parts of the country, and to oversee 
the installation and maintenance of program drops in 
every Canadian home. The 12 channels would require a 



considerable increase in the quantity of Canadian- 
produced programs. This in turn would require the most 
efficient use of production facilities and personnel, best 
accomplished by a private-enterprise operation 
concerned with satisfying its customers and making a 
profit. 

Television Canada Facilities' customers would 
include Television Canada, television production 
houses, producers and directors who would require 
production facilities, and television viewers whose sets 
would be connected to cable distnbution oudets 
operated and maintained by Television Canada 
Facilities. 

Revenues to operate Television Canada would come 
from subscription fees, from advertising and, on an 
interim basis, from Parliamentary appropriations. A 
developing source of income would be from the sale of 
Canadian programs to other countries. Another source 
would arise from Television Canada's ownership of 
subscriber drops into every television home. In the 
future, these connections and the distribution network 
that connected them would likely carry non-broadcast 
material and services on either a fee or rental basis. 

Parliamentary appropriations, at the rate presently 
paid to the cbc. would be required during the early 
years when there would be heavy capital demands for 
the wiring of every television home in Canada. But - 
and this is of prime importance - from the very 
beginning there would be almost three times the present 
total amount available for programming. 

After the initial wiring-up period (preceding 1982), 
Parliamentary appropriations could be materially 
reduced. During the build-up years, about S2.6 billion 
would be required, but that is equivalent to the amount 
the CBC would ordinarily receive during the same period 
under the present system. After this period, some $300 
million annually would be required, diminishing as 
other sources of income develop. If the present rate of 
appropriations continues to be paid to the cbc for 
television, about SI 2.5 billion will have to be paid from 
1977 to 1988 and about $10 billion from 1982 to 1988. 
(See Chapter 5.) 

Chart E shows the progress of the wiring-up of 



228 



Canadian viewers and the sources and disposition of the 
funds required. The overall tost to the government over 
the period 1977-1988 would be much less than if it 
continued to make appropriations to the ( n< over the 
same period. Yet the revenues available for program 
production or purchase would be greater than they 
would be under the present system, which has no possi- 
bility of ever becoming a contemporary, broad-choice, 
fully-controlled system available to all Canadians. 

Parliamentary appropriations will still be required to 
carry on cm radio services at the 1977 rate of $100 
million annually, but this can likely be reduced by the 
cheaper, broader, national distribution of t Bi radio 
services as a by-product of Television Canada's broad- 
choice television distribution system. There could be 
considerable technical benefit for radio, since all service 
would be of I vi quality and in stereo, if desired. 

It is proposed that Television Canada would own the 
drops and trunk wiring connecting individual subscri- 
bers. It would purchase existing dri>ps and trunk wiring 
from present cable companies and would finance the 
installation of all new wiring to be carried out by 
Television Canada Facilities. Ownership of the 
subscriber drops by a national, publicly owned organi- 
zation would enable the federal authority to arrive at 
whatever agreements or accommodations individual 
provinces and the federal authorities might reach in the 
future. (The federal Minister of Communications tabled 
an agreement with the Province of Manitoba in 
November 1976; it is reproduced as Appendi,\ B. The 
CRTC is seeking a legal opinion on its status which, at the 
moment contravenes c rk policy.) Telesat services, 
which to date have been largely financed by federal 
funds, would be employed to efiect direct distribution to 
regions. This would provide a revenue base to support 
the development of second-generation satellites. 

The new system would also ofler distinct advantages 
to any province eager to provide specialized broad- 
casting services to its citizens. A combined national 
distribution system such as Television Canada would be 
the most etTicient way of reaching all the inhabitants of 
any single region or combination of regions, because of 
the satellite distribution feature the new system would 
employ. 



229 



Television Canada Council (Coordinating and Policy) 

Chairman (staff) 1 

Vice-Chairman (staff) 1 
Heads of Program Planning and Scheduling (staff) 2 

Head of Television Canada Facihties 1 

Department of Communications representatives 2 

Financial Consultant (staff) 1 

Engineering Consultant (staff) 1 

Public representative 6 

TOTAL . 15 

Television Canada Staff 

Chairman and staff 10 

Vice-Chairman and staff 10 

Financial Consultant and staff 15. 

Engineermg Consultant and staff 15 

NaUonal and International Liaison 10 

Research and Public Relations 50 
Planning and Schedulmg Division: 

English 100 

French 100 

Regional English 150 

Regional French 50 

Traffic and Clearances 50 

Program Purchasing and Sales 25 

Legal. Contracting and Accounting 140 

Administration and Clerical 200 



TOTAL 



925 



Costs: Salaries $22,000,000 

Expenses 18.000.000 

TOTAL $40,000,000 



230 



Chapter Nine 

Television Canada 



Television Canada would consist of a coordinating and 
policy-making council and a staflT responsible for 
television broadcasting in English and French. A 
variety of approaches might be taken to the 
appointment of the members of the governing council, 
but there are some basic considerations which the 
appointment procedure should reflect. These include 
the competence of council members, and the 
requirement that the council as a whole be managerially 
effective; regional, provincial, cultural, and linguistic 
representation; the special relationship of Television 
Canada to Television Canada Facilities and the creative 
communities; and the role and responsibilities of Parlia- 
ment. The council would report to Parliament through 
the Minister of Communications. The council would be 
responsible for policy, setting of goals, research, 
financing of a broad-choice program service in two 
languages, and engineering its distribution. Its efforts 
and those of the staff would be directed to planning, 
determining, measuring, and contracting rather than to 
manufacturing or execution of the work entailed. Its 
staff should be the best available, chosen with priority 
on experience and attainment in their fields. 

A planning and scheduling division would be respon- 
sible for the choice of programs and their purchase from 
Canadian and non-Canadian sources. Similar opera- 
tions would be carried on in English and French, and 
each language group would be subdivided into 
categories of programming to correspond with each 
channel to be scheduled. There would be regional as 
well as national staff employed in most categories. 

The finance and accounting division would be 
responsible for the collection and disbursement of all 
revenues. An engineering group would be responsible 
for planning all technical requirements and liaising with 
the outside agencies which would carrv them out. There 
would be a legal and contracting division to handle the 
purchasing and sale of programs and services. A traffic 
and clearance division would handle the preparation 
and execution of program transmission. Necessary 
liaison, program sales, research, and public relations 
staff would also be associated with the operation. 

There would be a total of approximately 950 



permanent staff, as shown below. The creative and 
support staffs presently employed by the cbc and 
private television would be free-lancers, employed by 
the producers and producing companies contracting 
with Television Canada for the production of Canadian 
programs. Television Canada itself would own no 
studios or production equipment: these would be 
absorbed initially by Television Canada Facilities, as 
described in the next chapter. 

The revenue of Television Canada would come from 
subscription fees and advertising, with Parliamentary 
appropriations during the first five or six years, there- 
after being phased out. The subscription fees would be 
at the average level currently being paid by cable 
subscribers ( 1976 - $75 per annum), with provision for 
growth at a rate of 6 per cent per year. Parliamentary 
appropriations would be at the average rate of CBC 
appropriations' acceleration for the past several years, 
until 1982. Then, as shown in Chart D. there would be a 
decreasing requirement. This might well be eliminated 
by the development of other sources of revenue, such as 
the sale of Canadian programs and increased adver- 
tising revenues. 

Advertising, even at the current rates projected, 
would play a smaller role in the financing of Television 
Canada than it does in the present system, because of 
the relatively larger role of subscription income. But a 
broad-choice svstem of television would offer advan- 
tages to advertisers in providing additional channels 
and larger, more selective audiences. 

It is likely that an entirelv Canadian-onginated 
service such as Television Canada would finally 
repatriate much of the money now spent for adsertising 
on U.S. border stations, whose signals would no longer 
be carried in the Canadian service. Canadian viewers 
living on the border could continue to receive U.S. 
border stations but would have little incentive to do so, 
since virtually all of the L'.S. network programs would 
be a part of the Canadian senice. 



231 



Chapter Ten 

Television Canada Facilities 



Television Canada Facilities would be formed from the 
present physical assets of the CBC, private television, and 
the existing cable companies (other than cable drops 
which would be owned by Television Canada). Since 
the new company would have an ongoing purpose, the 
existing organizations would have an interest in the 
integration arrangement to be worked out. One way of 
developing an equitable base for merger would be to use 
gross fixed assets as reported to the crtc. For the year 
1975-76 (latest available), these show private television 
at a value of $182 million and cable at a value of $358 
million. (See Chart I.) The cbc figures are not readily 
comparable but there are now 28 cbc owned-and-op- 
erated television stations, compared with 74 private 
stations, so a rough valuation might be $150 million. 
This would put the total gross assets of the new- 
company at approximately $690 million and would 
provide a basis for dividing the shareholdings. 

This might be an occasion for some present members 
of the broadcasting industry to withdraw, if they so 
wished. The revenue from purchase by Television 
Canada of the existing cable drops and trunk wiring 
from the newly formed company would provide the 
cash flow ($396.6 million) to enable the remaining 
shareholders to buy out those who wished to withdraw 
and so consolidate the shareholdings of the company. 
Assuming, however, that no such withdrawals occurred, 
the CBC share of the holdings would amount to about 22 
per cent, which would constitute the shareholdings of 
the new company held in the name of the public. It 
might be that a maximum public participation of 30 per 
cent could be agreed on. 

Television Canada Facilities would provide 
production and technical facilities, install and maintain 
cable drops and trunking. and act as sales agent for 
advertising for Television Canada. It would have to 
maintain the necessary staff to carry out these functions 
in areas designated by Television Canada. It would also 
have to maintain efiicient modern production facilities 
and equipment as required. There would be continuous 
and close liaison with Television Canada to enable 
Television Canada Facilities to carry out these responsi- 
bilities on an adequate time schedule. 



Television Canada Facilities would be free to sell its 
services to other customers. Similarly, nothing need 
prevent any shareholder, former broadcaster, or cable 
operator from forming his own production house and 
taking part in a quite separate creative role in television. 
Undoubtedly, some broadcasters would do so, for they 
are among the most experienced producers in the 
country. However, in these roles they would be in equal 
competition with other producers. 

What would induce the present members of the Canadian 
broadcasting fratemit) willingly to join such a company? 

For the broadcaster it might be the knowledge that, 
without an efl^ective fiscal basis of joining forces with 
the cable operator, his broadcasting undertaking would 
in the years ahead be menaced by the widespread 
penetration of cable. This would leave him without any 
effective way of combatting the fragmentation of his 
audience that would surely lessen his earnings. 

The CBC might base its acceptance on an awareness of 
its historical role in the service of the people of Canada 
and the desire to take part in a truly national, contem- 
porary television broadcasting system. It would be 
impossible to develop such a system without restructure 
of the present system and the role of the cbc within it. 

The cable operator could be won over by a reali- 
zation that it would eventually be impossible for him to 
take part in a broadcasting service that by its very 
nature slowly strangles the elements within it that made 
it Canadian. 

It would not be enough to require the present 
pioneers of Canadian television to alter their relation- 
ships and responsibilities without recompense. A study 
of Chart E. showing a projection of Television Canada 
Facilities' earnings for the years 1977-88. will show that 
the shareholders of the new company would likely fare 
as well or better in their new roles as in their old. 

The CRTC Annual Report for 1975-76 provides a 
summary of the private broadcasting industry for 1975 
compared with 1974. (See Chart 1.) Television earnings 
before taxes were $39 million in 1975 ($23 million in 
1974) and those of cable were $30 million in 1975 ($27 
million in 1974). Thus, total earnings, before income 



232 



taxes, of private television and cable in 1975 were 
$69 million ($50 million in 1974). 

The projected earnings before taxes for 1978 of 
Television Canada Facilities are $80.6 million, rising to 
$151.2 million in 1988. The reason for the improvement 
in potential earnmgs is that Television Canada would 
make possible the full wirmg of the country, impossible 
under present cable operations. It would thus provide a 
higher revenue base and greatly improved program 
budgets, and that would result in more Canadian 
programming of higher quality. 

Under etficient management and usage, the present 
television production plant could produce much more 
than it does now; it would be the responsibility of 
Television Canada Facilities to provide continuing 
efficiencv for the profit of its owners, the present broad- 
casting establishment. Competing production facilities 
might well develop as a result of increased production 
requirements; the resulting competition would be in 
keeping with the development of a larger free-lance 
creative community in Canada. 



233 



Chapter Eleven 

Development of Television Canada 



With the "wired nation", additional sources of revenue 
should be available to Television Canada for, in the 
future, the drops could carry other non-broadcasting 
material and services. The carriage of non-broadcasting 
material and services would be attractive to provinces 
and common carriers, and might be shared with 
provincial telecommunications companies. But, from 
the completion of the main wiring in 1983, Canada for 
the first time would truly have a national system. 

Additional program channels could be estabhshed at 
the 1978 cost of about S80 million each. Additional 
channels at somewhat cheaper rates will be available 
from Telesat after 1983 from the second-generation 
satellites being planned now. The federal government 
should welcome this national employment of Telesat 
facilities because, unless it is utilized for the national 
television distribution system, Telesat is unlikely to 
achieve a defensible rate of return on the public funds 
expended. 

The new system could establish an independent news 
operation along the lines of Independent Television 
News in Great Britain, maintaining and adding to inter- 
national news operations in both languages, as well as 
more effective Canadian services throughout the 
country. The national availability of a service in both 
languages throughout the nation would give reality to 
the country's bicultural development. Also the presence 
of both English- and French-speaking journalists in all 
parts of the country should provide a far better basis of 
national understanding than we have at present. 

Most important of all, on the basis of revenue 
available and the encouragement of free, independent, 
cultural expansion in the main production areas of the 
country, for the first time Canada might begin to 
produce programs on an international level of excel- 
lence as a normal course, instead of in the occasional, 
convulsive, self-consciously Canadian way we have 
come to expect. 

An excellent argument that premium channels 
(Pay-TV) should be part of the national system rather 
than individual private enterprises would rest on the 
ownership of the local drops by Television Canada, 
which would make a national distribution apparatus 
possible. Because of the much larger base, rates could 



be lower. Since Pay-r\ "s mainstay would be current 
cinema films, there would be a natural circulation of 
such films from cinema first run. to the premium 
channel, to normal television release. Picture quality 
would probablv be better, since most of the Pay-T\ 
schemes suggest origination from sub-standard tapes. A 
national svstem could employ 35-mm projection or 
quad tape. Profits could be used to purchase premium 
attractions, such as sports events, for inclusion in 
normal transmissions to all subscribers. 

The development of Television Canada would 
simplify broadcasting regulation for the federal govern- 
ment. It would eliminate television licensing procedures 
and the organization required to regulate a complicated, 
widely dispersed, uncoordinated television broadcasting 
industry. It would greatly simplify logging, commercial 
content examination, regulation, and statistics. It would 
remove a great deal of the pressure associated with 
numerous and complex hearings and allow the 
regulators to be more concerned with content, viewer 
reaction, and program balance - more positive roles 
than the crtc has at present, with the emphasis on 
procedure required bv current regulation. 

It may well be that if the policy-making function for 
broadcasting is removed from the crtc, as the Minister 
of Communications has proposed, a more direct link 
with Parliament through the Department of Communi- 
cations would result. There are always some dangers in 
too close a proximitv of mass media and politicians, but 
even that might be preferable to the Parliament's 
monumental disinterest in broadcasting that has 
characterized the past decade. It is this lack of interest 
that has facilitated the different interpretations of the 
Broadcasting Act by the crtc. the cbc, private broad- 
casters, and cable operators which have produced the 
present system with its attendant problems. These have 
often been caused bv the failure of parts of the broad- 
casting system to anticipate them. 

For the future, a greater emphasis on planning 
resources, setting goals, and marrying regional, cultural, 
and national aspirations to technology and economies 
would be a most useful, appropriate, and comple- 
mentary role to the parallel development of the healthy, 
enlarging, competitive, creative world of television in 
Canada. 



234 



Chapter Twelve 

Political Action 



Cultural institutions develop against political 
backgrounds. The Broadcasting Act 1967-68, as 
amended, describes a broadcasting policy for Canada, 
sets up the crtc to regulate and license the broadcasting 
system and requires the Canadian Broadcasting Corpo- 
ration to carry out the broadcasting service described in 
the broadcasting policy. Although it makes no specific 
reference to the cablecasters' role, because their 
reception activities require licensing, the crk does in 
fact license and regulate them, i hey have, under the 
Act, become a part of the .system. 

It is the contention of this study that the system no 
longer is guided by the policy from which the service 
described in the Act is derived. 

The Act should be amended to reflect what 
Canadians desire in the way of broadcasting services, 
their distribution, and regulation. 

It is clear that an increasing number of Canadians 
now receive one kind of broadcasting service, while 
many receive another kind. The Act makes no mention 
of such a dichotomy. Although the Broadcasting Act 
describes the federal jurisdiction as pre-eminent in 
broadcasting, the system which has evolved seems to 
open the door to provincial involvement. This should be 
rationalized to bring things more in line with techno- 
logical developments. 

It is also apparent that large numbers of Canadians 
desire, and are willing to support, changes in the 
services that the system provides. By 1978, at present 
rates, a majority of Canadians will be utilizing and 
supporting a broadcasting service and system that are 
far removed from the ones described in the Act. 
Moreover, the service is often supplied by a licensee 
whose role is not even mentioned in the Act. To 
complicate matters further, as a part of the service he 
supplies the licensee performs actions that appear to lie 
outside the Act and may be under provincial 
jurisdiction. 

In November 1976, the Minister of Communications, 
the Hon. Jeanne Sauve, tabled in the House of 
Commons an agreement, made with the Province of 
Manitoba; this may be the forerunner of similar agree- 
ments with other provinces. (See Appendix B.) It 



allocates to the province responsibility for providing the 
telecommunications facilities required to carry on cable 
broadcasting in Manitoba, and to the federal authorities 
responsibility for the contents of the broadcasting 
carried over those facilities. 

Once the bill is approved by both parties, Manitoba 
will give priority to the construction and use of the 
necessary distnbution facilities to wire up the province, 
while the contents, including Pas-iv. will be supplied by 
licensees of the federal authorities. Under this 
agreement it is no longer necessary for programs to be 
transmitted through the ether and to be received in 
order to be identified as "broadcasts". 

If the Minister can come to similar agreements with 
the remaining provinces, the way may be open to revise 
the Act. The Minister seems to believe there is some 
urgency now to do so. If there is to be a new and ration- 
alized broadcasting system for Canada, this would be 
the appropriate time to examine what kind of a system 
would best serve Canadian requirements. 

All this is against the background of Canadian feder- 
alism. The election of a government for Quebec whose 
fundamental belief is that Quebec is better ofToutside 
Canada makes it more urgent for tho.se who disagree 
with such a development to fashion the national facil- 
ities for better understanding, tolerance, and appreci- 
ation of the two main cultures that are characteristic of 
Canada. A diflerent kind of broadcasting ser\'ice. 
provided by a different agency no less Canadian, may 
be better able to supply a more contemporary and 
useful national ser\ ice. 

The evolution of Television Canada from the present 
Canadian broadcasting .system may not take place in 
the pattern described here. If the Manitoba agreement 
between provincial common carriers and the federal 
government should become the pattern for future devel- 
opment, it would have a major bearing on the proposals 
made here. Less federal capital would be required to 
wire up the country and more of the incentives to do so 
would be provincial, rather than federal. But the 
provision of the broad-choice .system, which would be 
the federal responsibility, would provide an opportunity 
to analyze the present system and to ascertain whether 



235 



its mere extension would be as good for the country as 
its replacement by some other system which offered real 
hope for improvement, efficiency, and responsiveness. 
It IS not enough to be concerned about the effects of 
television on Canadians, whether the focus is on violent 
programming or on lack of minority programming, 
distinctiveness, excellence, or convenience. What a 
system does not determine and originate, it cannot 
control. We can make few changes without changing 
the system, if that system is to serve Canadian require- 
ments effectively and do justice to the mosaic of cultural 
diversity that constitutes the Canadian reality. 



236 



Appendix A 

Chart A: Television Canada 

Estimated Revenue from Subscribers for the Years 1978-1988 



Year 

1976 
1977 
1978 
1979 
1980 
1981 
1982 
1983 
1984 
198S 
1986 
1987 
1988 



;st'd. annual 

revenue per 

subscriber* 

$ 

75.00 


No 

at end of 

prev. year 

COOO) 


of subscribers 

added 

during year 

COOO) 


Subscribers 

at start of year 

($•000) 


Revenues 

Subscribers 

added x.50 

($•000) 


Total 
($•000) 


79.50 












84.27 


2.900 


500 


244.400 


21.100 


265,500 


89.33 


3.400 


600 


303,700 


26,800 


330.500 


94.69 


4,000 


600 


378,800 


28.400 


407,200 


100.36 


4,600 


600 


461,700 


30,100 


491.800 


106.38 


5,200 


600 


553,200 


31,900 


585,100 


112.76 


5,800 


600 


654,000 


33,800 


687.800 


119.52 


6,400 


600 


764,900 


35,900 


800,800 


126.69 


7.000 


500 


886,800 


31,700 


918,500 


134.29 


7,500 


150 


1.007.200 


10,100 


1.017.300 


142.35 


7,650 


150 


1,089.000 


10,700 


1,099,700 


150.89 


7,800 


150 


1.176.900 


11.300 


1.188,200 



• Increase of b't per annum m revenue per subscriber. 



Chart B: Television Canada 

Estimated Costs of Maintenance for the Years 1978-1988 



Year 

1978 
1979 
1980 
1981 
1982 
1983 
1984 
1985 
1986 
1987 
1988 



Cost per 
subscriber* 

$ 


No. of 

subscribers at 

start of year 

C'OOO) 


Total 
($•000) 


Profit 
@ 10% 
($•000) 


Total incl. 

profit 

($•000) 


13.48 


2,900 


39,100 


3,900 


43,000 


14.29 


3,400 


48,600 


4,900 


53,500 


15.15 


4.000 


60,600 


6,100 


66.700 


16.06 


4.600 


73,900 


7,400 


81.300 


17.02 


5,200 


88,500 


8,900 


97,400 


18.05 


5,800 


104,700 


10.500 


115,200 


19.13 


6,400 


122,400 


12,200 


134.600 


20.28 


7,000 


142.000 


14,200 


156.200 


21.50 


7.500 


161.300 


16,100 


177.400 


22.79 


7,650 


174,300 


17,400 


191,700 


24.16 


7.800 


188.400 


18,800 


207.200 



' lncrea!ie of b'^ per annum 



237 



Chart C: Television Canada 

Estimated Capital Expenditures 



Year 



1978 
1979 
1980 



198! 
1982 



1983 
1984 
1985 
1986 
1987 
1988 



Esl'd. no. of homes connected* 
During To end 

year of year 

COOO) ('000) 



500 
600 
400 
200 

600 
600 
200 
400 

600 
600 
600 
500 
150 
150 
150 





To end of 1977 


3,400 


150 


4,000 


200 




200 




250 


4.600 




5,200 


250 




250 




300 


5.800 




6.400 


300 


7.000 


300 


7.500 


300 


7.650 


300 


7.800 


300 


7,950 


300 



Capital expenditures' 
Per Annual 

connection total 

($) ($"000) 



75.000 

120.000 

80,000 

50,000 



130,000 

150,000 

50,000 

120,000 

170,000 
180,000 
180.000 
150.000 
45.000 
45.000 
45,000 



Cumulative 
($"000) 

321,600* 
396,600 
471,600 
591.600 



721,600 
871,600 



1.041,600 
1.221.600 
1,401.600 
1,551.600 
1,596.600 
1,641,600 
1.686,600 



• Based on annual increase of 20^ up lo 8.00U.OOO level and then increase of 150,000 annually 
•* Includes trunk lines and subscriber drops. 
••* Costs to end of 1977 included as expenditure in 1978 in "Forecast of cash flow". 



238 



Chart D: Television Canada 

Forecast of Cash Flow for the V ears 1978-1988 
Expenditures 



Year 

1977 
1978 
1979 
1980 
1981 
1982 
1983 
1984 
1985 
1986 
1987 
1988 



National 
distribution' Cap. expend.*' 

($•000) (S'OOO) 

396,600 (value of existing drops and wiring) 



35,000 
35,000 
35,000 
35,000 
40,000 
40,000 
40,000 
40,000 
45,000 
45,000 
45,000 
470,000 



471,600 
120,000 
130,000 
150,000 
170,000 
180.000 
180.000 
150.000 
45.000 
45.000 
45.000 
1,686,600 



Local Distribution 

Maintenance 

($•000) 

43,000 
53,500 
66,700 
81,300 
97,400 
115.200 
134.600 
156.200 
177.400 
191.700 
207,200 
1.357,800 



Programming 

and admin. 

($•000) 

938,100 
994,400 
1,054,100 
1,117,300 
1,184.300 
1,255,400 
1,331,000 
1.410,900 
1.495,600 
1,585,400 
1,680,500 
14,932,000 



Total 
($•000) 

1.487.700 
1.202.900 
1.285.800 
1.383,600 
1,491,700 
1.590.600 
1.685.600 
1.757,100 
1.763,000 
1,867,100 
1,977,700 
18,446,400 



' Service provided by Teicsal Canada. 
*' Includes Inink tines and subscriber drops: 1978 figure includes costs loendol" 1977. 
•*• InieresI^ 10^. per annum on average deficit. 



Receipts 



Subscriptions 
($•000) 


Advertising 
($•000) 


Parliamentary' 

appropriations 

($•000) 


Total 
($•000) 


Annual 
($•000) 


Surplus (Deficit) 
Interest'** Cumulative 
($•000) ($'000) 


265,500 


355.200 


438,500 


1,059.200 


(428,500) 


21.000 


(449.500) 


330,500 


383,100 


515,600 


1.229.200 


26,300 


20.000 


(443.200) 


407.200 


412,500 


608,500 


1.428.200 


142,400 


15.000 


(315.800) 


491.800 


447,500 


716,600 


1.655.900 


272,300 


2,000 


(43.500) 


585.100 


482,500 


844.400 


1.912.000 


420.300 




376,800 


687.800 


517,500 


994.700 


2.200.000 


609.400 




986,200 


800.800 


552,500 


330.000 


1.683.300 


(2.300) 




983.900 


918.500 


587,500 


300.000 


1 .806.000 


43.000 




1,026,900 


1.017.300 


622,500 


200.000 


1.839.800 


76.800 




1.103,700 


1 .099.700 


657.500 


100.000 


1.857.200 


(9,900) 




1,093,800 


1.188.200 


692,500 


100,000 


1.980.700 


3,000 




1.096.800 


8.003.100 


6.04n,(X)0 


5.14S,.^(X) 


18.651,500 


1.152.800 


57.000 





239 



Chart E: Television Canada Facilities 

Nef Operating Earnings 



Year 

1978 
1979 
1980 
1981 
1982 
1983 
1984 
1985 
1986 
1987 
1988 









Advertising rental 






Local Distribution 




of 


sales program 




nstallation' 


Maintenance* 


Representation" 




Facilities*** 


Total 


($•000) 


($■000) 


($•000) 




($•000) 




7.500 


3,900 


24.900 




44,300 


80,600 


12,000 


4,900 


26.800 




47,000 


90.700 


13.000 


6.100 


28.900 




49,800 


97.800 


15.000 


7.400 


31,300 




52,800 


106,500 


17,000 


8,900 


33,800 




56.000 


115,700 


18.000 


10,500 


36,200 




59.300 


124,000 


18.000 


12,200 


38,700 




62,900 


131,800 


15.000 


14,200 


41,100 




66,700 


137,000 


4.500 


16.100 


43,600 




70,700 


134,900 


4,500 


17.400 


46,000 




74,900 


142,800 


4,500 


18,800 


48.500 




79,400 


151,200 



• 1 0% of cost 10 Television Canada. 
•* 7% of advertising revenue of Television Canada. 
"Per Chan F. 



Chart F: Television Canada Facilities 

Calculation of Net Earnings on Rental of 
Program Facilities 





Cost to TV Canada 


Payment for 


Net earnings 




of programming 


rental of 


on rental of 


Year 


and origination* 


facilities** 


facilities' 




($•000) 


($•000) 


($•000) 


1978 


895,700 


295,600 


44.300 


1979 


949,400 


313,300 


47.000 


1980 


1,006,400 


332,100 


49.800 


1981 


1,006,800 


352.000 


52.800 


1982 


1,130,800 


373,200 


56.000 


1983 


1,198,600 


395,500 


59.300 


1984 


1,270,500 


419.300 


62.900 


1985 


1,346,700 


444.400 


66,700 


1986 


1,427,500 


471.100 


70.700 


1987 


1,513,200 


499,400 


74.900 


1988 


1,604,000 


529.300 


79.400 



* Increasing @ 6'/r per annum 
** 33% of cost of programming and origination. 
•** 1 5% of rental of program facilities based on following analysis of such operations: 



Revenue 

Program costs 
Direct 
Indirect 

Administrative Expense 

Net Operating Earnings 



% 
100 

50 
_13 

63 
_22 

Jl 
15 



240 



Chart G 



Excerpt from The Broadcasting Act l%7-68 
Part I - General Interpretation 

2. in ihis Act 

"broadcaster" means a person licensed by the 
Commission to carry on a broadcasting transmitting 
undertai<ing: 

"broadcasting" means any radiocommunication in 
which the transmissions are intended tor direct 
reception by the general public; 

"broadcasting licence" or. in Parts II and III, "licence" 
means a licence to carry on a broadcasting undertaking 
issued under this Act; 

"broadcasting undertaking" includes a broadcasting 

transmitting undertaking, a broadcasting receiving 
undertaking and a network operation, located in whole 
or in part within Canada or on a ship or aircraft 
registered in Canada; 

"Commission" means the Canadian Radio-Television 
Commission established by Part II; 

"Corporation" means the Canadian Broadcasting 
Corporation established by Part III; 

"licensee" means a person licensed by the 
Commission to carry on a broadcasting undertaking; 

"Minister" in Parts II and ill means the Secretary of 
State of Canada; 

"network" includes any operation involving two or 
more broadcasting undertakings whereby control over 
all or any part of the programs or program schedules of 
any of the broadcasting undertakings involved in the 
operation is delegated to a network operator; 

"radiocommunications" means any transmission, 
emission or reception of signs, signals, writing, images, 
sounds or intelligence of any nature by means of 
electromagnetic waves of frequencies lower than 3.000 
Gigacycles per second propagated in space without 
artificial guide; 

"temporary network operation" means a network 
operation with respect to a particular program or series 
of programs extending over a period not exceeding one 
month. 1967-68. c. 25. s. 3. 

Rroadcasling Policy for Canada 

3. It is hereby declared that 

(a) broadcasting undertakings in Canada make use of 
radio frequencies that are public priipcrtv and such 
undertakings constitute a single svstem, herein referred 
to as the Canadian broadcasting system; comprising 
public and private elements; 



(b) the Canadian broadcasting system should be 
effectively owned and controlled by Canadians so as to 
safeguard, enrich and strengthen the cultural, political, 
social and economic fabric of Canada; 

(c) all persons licensed to carry on broadcasting 
undertakings have a responsibilitv for programs thev 
broadcast but the right to freedom of expression and the 
right of persons to receive programs, subject only to 
generally applicable statutes and regulations, is 
unquestioned; 

(d) the programming provided by the Canadian 
broadcasting system should be varied and 
comprehensive and should provide reasonable, 
balanced opportunity for the expression of diffenng 
views on matters of public concern, and the 
programming provided by each broadcaster should be 
of high standard, using predominantly Canadian 
creative and other resources; 

(e) all Canadians are entitled to broadcasting service in 
English and French as public funds become available: 

(f) there should be provided, through a corporation 
established by Parliament for the purpose, a national 
broadcasting service that is predominantly Canadian in 
content and character; 

(g) the national broadcasting service should 

(i) be a balanced service of information, enlightenment 

and entertainment for people of different ages, interests 

and tastes covering the whole range of programming in 

fair proportion, 

(ii) be extended to all parts of Canada, as public funds 

become available, 

(iii) be in English and French, serving the special needs 

of geographic regions, and activeU contributing to the 

flow and exchange of cultural and regional information 

and entertainment, and 

(iv) contribute to the development of national unity and 

provide a continuing expression of Canadian identity; 

(h) where any conflict arises between the objectives of 
the national broadcasting service and the interests of 
the private element of the Canadian broadcasting 
system, it shall be resolved in the public interest but 
paramount consideration shall be given to the 
objectives of the national broadcasting service: 

(i) facilities should be provided w ithin the Canadian 
broadcasting sv stem for educational broadcasting; and 

(j) the regulation and supervision of the Canadian 
broadcasting system should be flexible and readily 
adaptable to scientific and technical advances; 

and that the objectives of the broadcasting poUcy for 
Canada enunciated in this section can best be achieved 
bv providing for the regulation and supervision of the 
Canadian broadcasting system by a single independent 
public authority. 1967-68, c. 25, s. 2, 



241 



Chart H: Cable Television in Canada 

Selected Statistics by Subscribers and by Province as of 31 August 1974 







Households 






Wired 




Licensed Area 


Province 










Sub- 
scribers 




Wired 




Licensed 
area 






Sub- 
scribers 


Number 


Wired 


Number 


Licensed 
Area 


Number 


Province 


Systems' 
licensed 


Ontario 


1.230,393 


1,775,940 


69 


1.885.652 94 


2,540.000 


74 


121 


British Columbia' 


514,091 


605,170 


85 


639.759 95 


749,000 


85 


68 


Quebec 


466,963 


1,057,487 


44 


1,166,955 91 


1,764,000 


66 


141 


Alberta 


173,375 


349,198 


50 


357,980 98 


519,000 


69 


20 


Manitoba 


100,740 


172,861 


58 


179.353 96 


311,000 


58 


6 


Nova Scotia 


45,361 


79,342 


57 


89.397 89 


222,000 


40 


21 


New Brunswick 


18,611 


30,755 


61 


31.925 96 


169,000 


19 


14 


Saskatchewan 


10,253 


13,080 


78 


15.325 85 


273,000 


6 


4 


Newfoundland 


310 


310 


100 


480 65 


125,000 


- 


1 


Prince Edward Island 


- 


- 


- 


- 


30,000 


- 


2 


TOTAL 


2,560.097 


4,084,143 


63 


4,366,826 94 


6,703,000* 


65 


398 



Prepared by Broadcast Operations Directorate froni crtc annual returns (4 August 1976)- 

1. Systems licensed are as of 31 August 1975. 

2. Source: Statistics Canada publication no. 64-202. 

3. British Columbia includes Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory. 
-: figures too small lo he expressed. 

•Note: Figures mav not add to total shown, due to rounding. 
From c FTC Annual Report 1975-76 



242 



Chart 1: 

Financial Summary of Private Broadcasting Industni for 1975 (with comparative figures for 1974) 











($ Millions) 








Television 


Radio 


Cable 


Tot 




1975 


1974 


1975 


1974 


1975 


1974 


1975 


Total operating revenues 


228 


194 


209 


183 


161 


133 


598 


Expenses 
















Program 


93 


89 


59 


50 


6 


5 


158 


Technical 


20 


18 


9 


8 


35 


27 


64 


Sales 


22 


20 


43 


39 


8 


7 


73 


Adminislralion 


41 


34 


59 


49 


37 


27 


137 


Depreciation 


11 


11 


6 


6 


33 


29 


50 


interest 


5 


4 


5 


4 


14 


II 


24 


Other expenses (Income) 


(3) 


(5) 


(2) 


(2) 


(2) 


- 


(7) 


Total 


189 


171 


179 


154 


131 


106 


499 


Income before income taxes 


39 


23 


30 


29 


30 


27 


90 


Provision for income taxes 


24 


18 


13 


13 


15 


13 


52 


Net income 


15 


5 


17 


16 


15 


14 


47 


Gross fixed assets employed 


182 


157 


105 


99 


353 


320 


645 



1974 



Percentage of Total Revenue 

Television Radio Cable Total 

1975 1974 1975 1974 1975 1974 1975 1974 

% % % % % % % % 



Total no. of employees 

•Prepared by Broadcast Operations. 
From CRTC Amuiil Repori. ;»75-7«. 



144 

53 
66 
110 
46 
19 

(7)1 

431 

79 

44 

35 

576 

5.226 5.052 7.568 7.330 4.155 3,764 16.949 16.146 



100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 



41 


46 


28 


27 


4 


4 


25 


28 


9 


9 


4 


4 


22 


20 


11 


10 


9 


10 


21 


21 


5 


5 


12 


13 


18 


18 


28 


28 


23 


20 


23 


22 


5 


5 


3 


3 


20 


20 


8 


9 


3 


2 


2 


2 


8 


8 


4 


4 


(2) 


(2) 


(1) 


(1) 


(1) 


- 


(1) 


(1) 


83 


88 


85 


84 


81 


80 


83 


85 


17 


12 


15 


15 


19 


20 


17 


15 


11 


10 


7 


7 


9 


10 


9 


8 


6 


2 


8 


9 


10 


10 


8 


7 



243 



Chart J 

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation operating expenditures for Television and Radio 

CBC Annual Report 1975-76 

Percentage Distribution of Total Operating Expense Year ended March 31, 1976 



Recording and 
film processing 



TV staging and 
production costs 

Maintenance of 
technical equipment 

1^ 




Payments to 
private stations 

Agency commissions 
and allowances 



Note: Excludes 1976 Summer Olympics 



244 



Chart K 

(RK Annual Report 1975-76 




<£ii= 



245 



Chart L 

CRTC Annual Report 1975-76 




^-^ 



246 



Chart M 

CRic Annual Report 1975-76 




l:=>^ 



247 



Chart N 

CRTC Annual Report 1975-76 











































itt 


(A 

z 
o 


o 










r 










< 


* 


a , 


CJ 

z 


X 


^ 




o 
































> 


if 


o 






























CO 










o 




X 

1 



=Siil2 IS 

IIMii §i 

fiiiil i^ 

elf ii| ? = 




^i= 



248 



Chart O 

CRTC Annual Report 1975-76 




249 



Appendix B 

Copy of proposed agreement between Government of 
Canada and the Province of Manitoba (tabled in House. 
November 1976). 



Day of 



This Agreement Made in Duplicate This . 
1976. 

Between 



Her Majesty The Queen, in right of Canada, represented 
by the Minister of Communications (hereinafter 
referred to as Canada) 

And 

Her Majesty The Queen, in right of Manitoba 
represented b) the Mmister of Consumer, Corporate 
and Internal Services (hereinafter referred to as the 
Province) 



Preamble 

Whereas Canada has responsibihty for regulating and 
supervising all aspects of the Canadian broadcasting 
svstem; 

And Whereas the Province has responsibility for 
regulating and supervising common carrier services 
provided through its agency, the Manitoba Telephone 
System, or other agencies of a similar character subject 
to the regulatory and supen'isory authority of the 
Province (any such agency hereinafter referred to as the 
Agency): 

And Whereas the Canadian broadcasting system 
comprises a single system which includes broadcasting 
receiving undertakings that make use of the facilities 
and apparatus owned or under the control of the 
Agency: 

And VVTiereas facilities and apparatus owned or under 
the control of the Agency that are or may be used by 
the Agency to provide common carrier services may 
also be used by broadcasting receiving undertakings in 
Manitoba: 

And Whereas it is desirable that Canada and the 
Province commonly agree as to the rights and 
obligations of broadcasting receiving undertakings and 
the Agency respecting their joint use of facilities and 
apparatus owned or under the control of the Agency for 
the purposes of each providing their separate services to 
the public in Manitoba; 

And Whereas it is agreed that this Agreement is made 
without prejudice to the position of the parties as to 
their respective responsibilities at any time after the 
termination of this Agreement; 



Now Therefore Canada and the Province mutually 

agree and undertake that: 

Article I - Interpretation 

For purposes of this agreement 

"authorized" means licensed or otherwise authorized by 
Canada; 

"Canada" includes any agency designated by Canada to 
exercise authority on its behalf: 
"distribution" includes transmission and/or carriage: 
"facilities and apparatus of the Agency" means facilities 
and/or apparatus owned or under the control of the 
Agency, 

"programming senice" or "programming" means audio 
and 'or visual matter, or the provision thereof where 
such matter is directed to the public by means of 
telecommunication facilities and where such matter is 
designed to inform, enlighten or entertain, or is similar 
in nature, character or substance to matter normally 
provided by television or radio broadcasting and may 
reasonably be expected to have an impact on the 
achievement of the objectives of the Canadian broad- 
casting s\ stem. For greater clarity and without limiting 
the generality of the foregoing, programming services 
include broadcast programming, pay television 
programming, local or community programming, but 
do not include point-to-poinl services, teleconferencing, 
or teleshopping services: 

"signal modification" means quality improvement or 
waveform modification prior to distribution over or by 
means of the facilities and apparatus of the Agency, or 
any change in the information content, of the signal. 

Article II - Programming Senices 

The regulations and supervision of programming 
services, including programming services distribution in 
Manitoba over or by means of facilities or apparatus of 
the Agency, are exclusive responsibilities of Canada. 

Article III - Other Services 

The regulation and supervision of telecommunication 
services, other than programming services, distributed 
in Manitoba by means of facilities and apparatus of the 
Agency are exclusive responsibilities of the Province. 

Article IV - Radioconur.unication 
Notwithstanding the provisions of Article III, the 
orderly development and operation of radiocommuni- 
cation in Canada remains the responsibility of Canada. 

Article V - Cable-Carrier Hardware Arrangements 

For the purpose of providing authorized programming 
services to the public, a broadcasting receiving under- 
taking may lease from the Agency all necessary facilities 
and apparatus excluding signal modifications and 
studio equipment, channel modulators and the antenna 
and headend of a broadcasting receiving undertaking. 



250 



the terms and conditions under which the Agency 
provides such facihties and apparatus being agreed 
between the Agency and the undertaking in accordance 
with apphcable statutory provisions. 

Article VI - Adjudication of Disputes 

In the event of a dispute as to terms, conditions or rates 
affecting the use of facilities and apparatus of the 
Agency for the purpose of providing authorized 
programming services, the Province undertakes to take 
the necessary measures to ensure that such dispute will 
be adjudicated by its competent regulatory authority in 
order to ensure that such terms, conditions or rates are 
just, reasonable, and m the public mtcrest. 

Article VII - Technical Standards 

The enactment and/or application of minimum 
technical standards in regard to facilities and apparatus 
used for the provision of programming services remains 
the responsibility of Canada. 

Article VIII - Channel Capacity And Priority 

The Province undertakes to take the necessary measures 
to ensure that the Agency will readily make available 
sufficient telecommunicaticms capacity to permit the 
distribution of all authorized programming services 
which make use of the facilities and apparatus t)f the 
Agency, it being understood that distribution of 
programming services has priority over the distribution 
of other services with regard to the use of such facilities 
and apparatus. 

Article IX - Extension Of Services 

While the determination of the timing and conditions 
for the introduction i)f programming services into the 
various localities in Manitoba remains the responsibility 
of Canada, Canada and the Province undertake to 
cooperate with a view to ensuring the orderly provision 
of programming and other services in Manitoba which 
make common use of the facilities and apparatus of the 
Agency. 

Article X - Exclusivity 

The Province undertakes to take the necessary measures 
to ensure that the Agency will permit use of its facilities 
and apparatus for the distribution of programming 
services only by undertakings, entities, or individuals 
authorized by Canada. 

Article XI - Review and Amendment 

The provisions of this agreement shall be subject to 
joint review at the request of either party, and may be 
amended at any time by mutual agreement. 

Article XII - Termination 

This agreement may be terminated by either party upon 

one year's notice. 



In Witness WTiereof the parties hereto have signed the 

agreement. 

For the Government of the Province of Manitoba 



Minister of Consumer, Corporate and Internal Services 
For the Government of Canada 

Minister of Communications 



251 



Projet de refonte 
de la 

television canadienne 



Stuart Griffiths 
Consultant en communications 



Table des matieres 

Chapitre 1 Introduction Page 255 

2 Le developpement de la television au Canada 257 

3 Les difficultes du systeme actuel 259 

4 Les difficultes de la production televisee canadienne 263 

5 Cout du present systeme 265 

6 Structure horizontale et structure \ erticale 268 

7 Systeme propose 270 

8 Structure du nouveau systeme canadien de teiedifTusion 274 

9 Television Canada 276 

10 Gestion Television Canada 278 

1 1 Creation de Television Canada 280 

12 Incidences politiques 282 

Annexe A: Tableaux 284 

B: Projet de convention (Canada - Manitoba) 297 



Chapitre un 

Introduction 



Comme I'mdique son nom meme, c'est sur la violence 
dans les iiioyens de communication de masse que porte 
I'enqucte de la Commission royale. Or ce n'est pas la 
vraiment le sujel du present rapport; celui-ci, entrepris a 
la demande de la Commission, s'mteresse a la structure 
des moyens de communication canadiens, a leurs 
insuffisances et aux problemes qui rendent difficile, 
sinon impossible, aux Canadiens, d'influencer ou de 
controler le contenu des emissions qui leur sont propo- 
sees. Cette etude se propose de suggerer des solutions au 
probieme que constitue un systeme de radioteledifTusion 
laijonne en dehors de tout controle national alors qu'il 
devrait etre con^u par des Canadiens oeuvrant a I'inte- 
rieur de la structure politique, socialc et economique 
canadienne. 

Nos aspirations a un systeme reellement canadien ne 
pourront etre satisfaites tant que ce probieme fonda- 
mental ne sera pas resolu. De tous les moyens de 
communication de masse dont disposent les canadiens 
la television est de par son omnipresence, de par sa 
capacite a nous influencer, a nous instruire. a nous 
distraire, a modeler nos attitudes et parfois notre 
comportement, le plus puissant et le plus influent. Les 
problemes qui ont accompagne son expansion doivent 
etre resolus si I'on veut qu'elle joue un role optimal dans 
le developpment social et culturel du Canada, et en fait, 
dans son unite meme. 

Pendant trois decennies, de 19.14 a 1960, aucun 
instrument n"a davantage contribue a unifier, distraire, 
informer et influencer le Canada que sa radio, et en 
particulier Radio-Canada. Son importance reelle n'avait 
aucun rapport avec sa taille et ses res.sources. Pour la 
plupart des Canadiens, qu'ils soient francophones ou 
anglophones, la radio tenait lieu tout a la fois de cinema 
national, de theatre national, de quotidien national el 
de magazine national. 

Certes, a cette epoque, comme maintenant. les villes 
les plus importantes offraient d'autres ressources cultu- 
relles; mais ces dernieres n'etaient pas facilement acces- 
sibles aux nombreux Canadiens ne vivant pas en milieu 
urbain. .Sans pour autant etre coupes de notre puissant 
voisin du sud, les Canadiens etaieni alors moins condi- 



tionnes et influences par les Etats-Unis que nous ne le 
sommes actuellement. 

C'etait. pour le Canada, une periode de maturation, 
une epoque oil le systeme de valeurs britannique laissail 
progressivement la place a rafTirmation de qualites plus 
personneiles et refletant la diversite de nos origines. Les 
Canadiens prenaient conscience du fait qu'ils partagent 
le continent avec une nation dynamique et vigoureuse 
dont les ressemblances avec eux surpassaient de 
beaucoup les differences. De meme que les structures 
politiques, juridiques et sociales des Etats-Unis et du 
Canada, la langue commune a la majorite des Nord- 
Americains leur vient d"un heritage britannique 
commun. Chez les Canadiens d'expression franqaise, 
une barriere linguistique a protege et encourage le 
developpement d'une culture differente. La proximite 
des Etats-Uni.s, voisin puissant, riche, souvent incons- 
cient de son influence, et dix fois plus peuple que le 
Canada, reste, aujourd'hui comme hier, un trait fonda- 
mental de la realite canadienne. 

Une generation de Canadiens enthousiastes fit son 
apparition pendant ces annees-la. C'est surtout par 
I'intermediaire de la radio que leur influence s'esl 
etendue a I'en.semble du pays. Au cours de la seconde 
guerre mondiale, la radio canadienne joua un role 
considerable, par ses informations et par le lien qu'elle 
maintenait entre ceux qui etaient partis et ceux qui 
restaient. 

La television apparait en Grande-Bretagne pendant 
les annees trente, mais n'est proposee au public qu'apres 
la guerre. Presque immediatement apres la fin des hosti- 
lites, la television est lancee au Etats-Unis, oil elle se 
developpe rapidement. Dans un premier temps, seuls les 
Canadiens vivant pres de la frontiere, a portee des 
stations americaines peuvent recevoir les emissions de 
television, et il faut attendre 1952 pour que s'ouvre I'ere 
de la radioteleditTusion du Canada. 

La television procurait une illusion de la realite qui 
surpassait de loin la radio. 

II ctait dirticile, pour beaucoup, de faire la distinction 
entre I'image ephemere qu'elle en donne et la realite. II 
suffisait de voir pour croire, et c'est ce qui faisail de la 
television un support ditTerent laissant moins de place a 



255 



rimagination. et en meme temps plus puissant que la 
radio. Que Fimage apparaisse sur Tecran et elle devient 
realite. ne serait-ce qu'a cet instant. La television va, 
dans les dix ans qui suivent la fin de la guerre, usurper a 
la radio le role unique qu'elle jouait jusqu'alors et la 
releguer au rang des objets simplement utilitaires que 
sent Telectrophone. le telephone et Fautomobile. 

Sortant de la crise economique et a la recherche d'une 
identite. les Canadiens emergent de la guerre differents 
de ce qu'ils etaient en y entrant. Leurs sacrifices et leurs 
experiences developpent chez eux une confiance et une 
fierte qui stimulent une expansion rapide de la vie 
industnelle. economique et culturelle. Notre peuple a 
retire de la guerre une meilleure connaissance du monde 
exterieur. et un interet plus grand pour lui. La television 
a americanise les Canadiens. 

Conditionnes par deux decennies de couverture 
televisee des guerres menees par les Etats-Unis et de 
leurs conflits internes, les Canadiens ont dans une tres 
large mesure vu dans ces images le reflet de notre propre 
realite, et les ont ajoutees aux images de nos propres 
incidents violents. diiment reproduits par des cameras 
canadiennes douees d'ubiquite. Les Canadiens peuvent 
done sembler deux fois benis! Nous sommes influences 
dans nos valeurs et notre mode de vie par les Etats- 
Unis; nous acceptons leur violence et nous I'ajoutons a 
celle qui nous est propre. En comparaison. le telespec- 
tateur americain apparait bien pauvre. lui qui n'a que la 
violence americaine a se mettre sous la dent, et entend si 
rarement parler de ce qui se passe chez son voisin 
du Nord. 

Un telespectateur de Toronto a plus de choix en 
matiere de television que son homologue de New York, 
Chicago ou Los Angeles. Mais a la difterence du teles- 
pectateur americain dont la nourriture televisee est 
presque a cent pour cent nationale. le Canadien voit des 
emissions etrangeres dans une proportion ecrasante. Les 
telespectateurs canadiens qui ne sont pas aussi avanta- 
geusement situes que le sont ceux de Toronto se 
plaignent souvent d'etre brimes et reclament un plus 
grand choix de programmes. II est clair que tous les 
telespectateurs canadiens desirent un reseau plus fourni, 
leur off'rant plus que les deux, trois ou quatre choix dont 
ils disposent actuellement. La television par cable s'est 
implantee pour procurer ce choix, ne serait-ce qu'aux 
telespectateurs des grandes villes oii aujourd'hui plus de 
vingt canaux sont accessibles. Proportionnellement, le 
Canada a deja plus de branchements sur cable qu'aucun 
autre pays au monde. 

L'organisme federal charge de la radiodiflfusion, le 
Conseil de la radio-television canadienne exige des 
societes de cablodiffusion qu'elles fassent passer toutes 
les emissions canadiennes locales; les canaux restants 
peuvent alors etre mis a la disposition de programmes 
americains. Ceux-ci proviennent de stations situees en 
dehors du Canada et qui ne sont ni reglementees. ni 
autorisees, ni controlees par des Canadiens. Elles 
entrent directement en competition avec les 



telediff"useurs canadiens pour conquerir le public 
canadien. Toutes les chaines americaines, a Texception 
des stations pbs, sont financees par la publicite. II en va 
de meme pour la majorite des stations canadiennes; les 
stations educatives de I'Ontario, ainsi que Radio- 
Canada font exception. Les stations tvo sont entie- 
rement financees par la province, tandis que Radio- 
Canada retire Mngt pour cent de ses ressources de la 
publicite et le reste des credits votes par le Parlement. 
Comme les agences de publicite achetent en fonction du 
nombre de spectateurs, Radio-Canada elle-meme est 
prise au piege des chiff'res quand elle pretend justifier ses 
depenses par sa cote d'ecoute. 

Ce sont des programmes produits par la television 
americaine qui composent I'essentiel du menu propose 
aux telespectateurs canadiens; peu importe alors que 
ces programmes soient captes directement par des 
spectateurs frontaliers ou par cable a partir de stations 
americaines, ou encore par Pintermediaire de stations 
canadiennes qui les ont achetes aux chaines ameri- 
caines. A I'heure actuelle le contenu canadien de 
nombreux programmes de television par cable ne 
represente probablement pas plus de 20% de I'ensemble. 
En 1976, on a fait pression sur le gouvernement federal 
pour qu'il autorise la television payante, systeme qui 
entrainerait une concurrence encore plus apre dans la 
conquete des telespectateurs. En outre le contenu de ce 
genre de systeme serait en tres grande majorite 
americain. 

Voila done le systeme canadien tel qu'il existe en 
1977. Et, en plus, ce systeme. si insatisfaisant et si 
imparfait qu'il soil, a peu de chances de toucher plus de 
70% des foyers canadiens. 

Ce que le Parlement du Canada decrivait en 1968, 
dans la loi sur la radiodiffusion sous le nom de systeme 
canadien de radiodiffusion devient peu a peu et 
regulierement moins canadien du point de vue de la 
quantite, de la qualite, et de I'accessibilite. II est de plus 
en plus diflRcile a distinguer du systeme conqu et realise 
aux Etats-Unis a I'mtention des telespectateurs ameri- 
cains, et il echappe toujours plus a tout controle 
canadien. 

On pent penser que les Canadiens souhaitent un 
service de television authenliquement canadien comme 
celui que prevoit la Loi sur la radiodiflfusion (voir 
tableau G). Toutefois, il y a peu d'espoir de voir ce 
souhait exauce dans le cadre du systeme actuel, qui ne 
repond par ailleurs pas aux preoccupations contempo- 
raines touchant la violence, I'identite et I'a-propos. Un 
systeme ne pent pas controler ce qu'il ne decide ni ne 
produit. Notre systeme ne repond plus aux besoins des 
Canadiens et il a peu de chances de le faire s'il continue 
sur sa lancee. 

Le present rapport se propose d'etudier ce que 
pourrait etre un svsteme canadien different. 



256 



Chapitre deux 

Le developpement de la television au Canada 



II y a aujourd'hui, au Canada. 6.7 millions de foyers 
equipes d"un televiseur. Le nombre des foyers ayant la 
television augmente au meme rvthme que la population. 
Nombreuses sont les maisons disposant de plusieurs 
televiseurs permetlant au.x differents membres de la 
famille de suivre simultanement des programmes diffe- 
rents. 11 y a 25 ans. on comptait 42.000 postes dans le 
pays, dans la region de Toronto et de Niagara pour la 
plupart. lis etaient utilises par des Canadiens pour 
regarder des programmes americams puisqu'il n"y avail 
pas. a I'epoque. de chaine de television canadienne. 

La transmission televisee ful introduite au Canada 
par Radio-Canada a I'automne de 1952. Des le debut, il 
y eut des emissions en anglais et en franqais. La 
television se developpa rapidement le long des lignes 
radio de Radio-Canada avec un reseau bati, pour les 
grandes villes, a partir, d"un combinaison de stations 
appartenant a Radio-Canada et exploitees par cette 
societe et pour les zones moins peuplees, des stations a 
capitaux prives qui lui etaient atfiliees. Des 1955, a peu 
pres 60''r des Canadiens pouvaient regarder des 
programmes de television presentes par Radio-Canada. 
des stations privees et. pour ceux vivant dans leur 
champ d'emission. par les stations americaines situees 
de I'autre cote de la tronticre. Bien que lajuxtaposition 
de programmes canadiens et amencains ait toujours ete 
une des caracteristiques de la tele\ ision canadienne, au 
debut des annees 1950 la proportion des programmes 
produits par le Canada etait, comme par une ironie du 
sort, superieure a ce qu'elle est aujourd'hui. 

Ces premieres annees ont d'ailleurs ete qualifiees 
d"'age d'or" par Radio-Canada lors du 20e anniversaire 
de sa television, en 1972, el ceci tout simplement parce 
qu"a I'epoque les Canadiens vo\aient plus d'emissions 
canadiennes qu'aujourd'hui. Les realisateurs, metteurs 
en scene et artistes canadiens se sont multiplies 
rapidement et font maintenant partie de I'elite mondiale 
dans leurs domaines respectifs. Mais bientot, les possi- 
bilites et les budgets canadiens ne pouvant plus suffire a 
satisfaire leurs aspirations, une bonne partie (souvent la 
plus talentueuse) de la premiere generation des 
createurs de la television anglophone prit le chcmin de 
I'emigration. Les annees passant, beaucoup d'autres les 



ont suivis. Peut-etre est-ce la le destin du genie creatif 
canadien de langue anglaise qui evolue dans un monde 
oil la concurrence est plus dure que celle qu'afl'rontent 
leurs non moins talentueux collegues de langue 
franqaise. 

Ceux qui quitterenl le Canada furent remplaces par 
des createurs plus ages, moins talentueux ou plus jeunes 
et moins expenmentes. Depuis ce temps-la, le schema 
"formation, frustration et choix entre partir et rester" 
s'est en grande partie perpetue. Ce sont souvent des 
veterans, plus vieu.x et moins creatifs qui ont accede aux 
postes de direction de Radio-Canada. Les createurs les 
plus jeunes et les plus entreprenants travaillaient a la 
pige et n'avaient avec Radio-Canada, leur principal 
employeur pendant les annees 1950, que des relations 
contractuelles. Les reseaux canadiens, ne pouvant 
rivaliser avec les reseaux americains au plan du budget 
et de la programmation. utilisaient des emissions ameri- 
caines pour attirer le public vers les programmes 
canadiens qui devaient les accompagner ou les suivre, 
Les responsables federaux, a savoir la Commission des 
Gouverneurs de la radiodifTusion puis son successeur, le 
CRTC, augmenlerent progressivement la proportion des 
productions canadiennes imposees a toutes les stations 
canadiennes. Les responsables se rendaient bien compte 
que, si la qualite de la production etait un element 
important dans le choix que faisait le spectateur, il 
fallait aussi admetlre certaines limites pratiques. En 
meme temps, ils devaient maintenir sur les deuxiemes 
stations et le deuxieme reseau une pression suffisante 
pour qu'ils etendent leurs emissions a des regions de 
moins en moins rentables mais dont les habitants 
aspiraient ncanmoins a un plus grand choix d'emissions. 
Elle s'est rapidement developpee a partir de la fin des 
annees soixante. Ces efforts augmenterent I'audience 
des stations canadiennes et, a enjuger par leur popula- 
rite, celle des emissions canadiennes. 

La television en couleur, qui avail debute plus lot aux 
Etats-Unis fit son apparition au Canada au milieu des 
annees soixante. Pour justifier le prix qu'ils avaient paye 
pour leurs recepteurs, les acquereurs des premiers postes 
reclamerent une programmation plus importante 
d'emissions en couleur. Les utilisateurs de televisions en 



257 



couleur des grandes villes s'aperqurent alors que. si la 
television noir et blanc avait une bonne reception, il 
n'en allait pas de meme pour la television en couleur. 
Avec I'accroissement de la population urbaine au 
Canada, {'augmentation du nombre des programmes 
populaires de qualite etaient souvent le fruit de ce genre 
de collaboration. Les personnes serieusement 
interessees par la creation televisee ne trouvaient pas 
d'autre empioyeur au Canada. II n'est pas surprenant 
dans ces conditions que le personnel de Radio-Canada 
se soit rapidemenl etoffe. 

Vers la fin des annees 50 la presSSon du public 
imposait la creation de "deuxiemes" stations destinees a 
donner le choix entre deux programmes a ceux des 
Canadians qui ne pouvaient recevoir qu'une seule 
chaine. La pression vint aussi des agents de publicite 
qui voulaient plus de choix de concurrence dans la 
publicite televisee. En 1961, la Commission des gouver- 
neurs de la radiodiffusion, organisme federal charge a 
I'epoque des questions de television, autorisa le premier 
groupe de deuxiemes stations a Toronto, Montreal, 
Ottawa, Winnipeg et Vancouver. C'est ainsi que naquit 
le reseau commercial ctv dont le nombre d'affilies 
s'accrut rapidement..\ peu pres au meme moment la 
cablodiffusion faisait des debuts presque inaper^us. 
Cette initiative privee se proposait d'amener la 
television dans les endroits que les emissions ne 
pouvaient atteindre et d'offrir aux regions urbaines ne 
recevant que Radio-Canada un choix de programmes, 
ce "choix" etant d"ailleurs le plus souvent americain. 

La creation du second reseau augmentale nombre des 
heures d'emission de la television canadienne. Le 
second reseau put progressivement mettre au point des 
programmes qui. sinon par leur budget, du moms par 
leur popularite, rivalisaient favorablement avec ceux 
produits par Radio-Canada. Les reseaux canadiens. ne 
pouvant rivaliser avec les reseaux americains au plan du 
budget et de la programmation, utilisaient des emissions 
americaines pour attirer le public vers los programmes 
canadiens qui devaient les accompagner ou les suivre. 
les responsables federaux, a savoir la Commission des 
Gouverneurs de la radiodiffusion puis son successeur, le 
CRTC , augmenterent progressivement la proportion des 
productions canadiennes imposees a toutes les stations 
canadiennes. Les responsables se rendaient bien compte 
que. si la qualite de la production etait un element 
important dans le choix que faisait le spectateur, il 
fallait aussi admettre certaines limiles pratiques. En 
meme Lemps, ils devaient maintenir sur les deuxiemes 
stations et le deuxieme reseau une pression suffisante 
pour qu'ils etendent leurs emissions a des regions de 
moins on moins rentables mais dont les habitants 
aspiraient neanmoins a un plus grand choix d'emissions. 
Elle s'est rapidement developpee a partir de la fin des 
annees soixante. Ces efforts augmenterent Taudience 
des stations canadiennes et, a en juger par leur 
popularite, celle des emissions canadiennes. 

La television en couleur. qui avail debute plus tot aux 



Etats-Unis fit son apparition au Canada au milieu des 
annees soixante. Pour justifier le prix qu'ils avaient paye 
pour leurs recepteurs, les acquereurs des premiers postes 
reclamerent une programmation plus importante 
d'emissions en couleur. Les utilisateurs de televisions en 
couleur des grandes villes s'aperqurent alors que. si la 
television noir et blanc avait une bonne reception, il 
n'en allait pas de meme pour la television en couleur. 
Avce I'accroissement de la population urbaine au 
Canada, {'augmentation du nombre des edifices admin- 
istratifs et residentiels de grande taille, jouant le role de 
boucliers et de reflecteurs des signaux directs, rendait 
difficile la transmission des emissions en couleur. 

La cablodiff'usion apparut alors comme la solution 
pour les villes en ce qu'elle offrait a la fois un plus grand 
choix d'emissions et une reception techniquement 
meilleure. Elle s'est developpee rapidement depuis la fin 
des annees 60 et est devenue. dans de nombreuses villes 
le principal intermediaire pour la reception des 
emissions. La television par cable est plus utilisee au 
Canada que dans n'importe quel autre pays du monde. 

La television par cable et ses consequences ont trans- 
forme la nature de la television canadienne en la faisant 
passer d'un systeme a choix restreint a un systeme a 
choix multiple. Et cela s'est passe avec I'appui enthou- 
siaste et manifeste des telespectateurs canadiens. 



258 



Chapitre trois 

Les difficultes du systeme actuel 



La cablodiffusioii 

Le legislateur canadien a temoigne d'une grande incer- 
titude face au phenomene de la cabiodilTusion. La cgr 
et le CRTC I'onl ignoree puis lentement reconnue, puis 
definie, puis ils ont tente de lui imposer des restrictions, 
avant de finir par I'accepter sous la formidable pression 
de Popinion publique. L'histoire de la cablodiffusion au 
Canada temoigne surtoul de Tesprit pionnier de ses 
promoteurs et du triomphe de la volonte populaire en 
democratic car les actes et frnfluence du legislateur ont 
souvent ete retrogrades. L'ancien ministere des Trans- 
ports et la Commission des gouverneurs de la 
radioditTusion seront peut-etre pardonnes car, a 
Tepoque ou ils avaient la responsabilite de la 
radioditTusion, la cablodiffusion en etait encore qu'a ses 
debuts. Aux environs des annees 1960 on pouvait 
percevoir ses possibilites futures; en 1967, son role etait 
techniquement sinon legalement clair. Pourtant 
I'actuelle Loi sur la radiodiffusion, votce en 1968, ne 
s'interesse que succinctement au role de la television par 
cable dans les telecommunications canadiennes. 

La diffusion, englobant la radio et la television, a 
toujours ete consideree comme etant du domaine du 
federal, et cette opinion a ete confirmee par les tribu- 
naux. Meme les entreprises provinciales de diffusion 
doivent etre autorisees par le legislateur federal, en 
I'occurrence par I'intermediaire du crtc. Les societes de 
television par cable etant autorisees a retransmettre des 
emissions, leurs activites sont regies par la loi sur la 
radiodiffusion (voir tableau 6). 

Mais est-ce que remission pour transmission par 
cable fait vrannent partie de la radiotelediffusion? Ou 
pourrait soutenir que les programmes qui ne sont pas 
transmis par voie hertzienne ne sont pas de la 
radiodiffusion au sens de la loi sur la radiodiffusion. La 
definition de la radiodiffusion donnee par la loi gene les 
perfectionnements inevitables de la qualite technique 
des films de television et, a moins qu'elle ne soit 
modifiee, elle ne peut qu'accroitre les pressions tendant 
a faire rentrer la radiotelediffusion dans le domaine 
juridiquc des provinces. 

La qualite technique des programmes transportes par 
les .societes de cablodiffusion serait considerablement 



amelioree si elles etaient directement reliees aux stations 
de television qu'elles relaient. A I'heure actuelle le 
programme doit d'abord etre transmis et re(;u avant 
d'etre relaye aux abonnes du cable. Si tous les telespec- 
tateurs d'une station au Canada etaient abonnes. 
resterait-il une raison valable d'envoyer les programmes 
par voie hertzienne? Les emetteurs font alors double 
emploi avec les cablodiffuseurs .sans accroitre le public 
de la station, lis ne representent plus qu'un moyen 
supplementaire de distribution. 

La question de savoir si tous les programmes trans- 
portes par une societe de cablodiffusion tombe dans le 
domaine des competences federales n'est pas resolue 
avec clarte par la Loi sur la radiodiffusion. La 
juridiction dont relevent des programmes realises par 
les societes de cablodiffusion elles-memes, ou ceux 
relayes par micro-ondes (les evenements sportifs 
majeurs, les films etc . . . ) doit etre clairement designee. 
La position du crtc- est que tous les programmes de ce 
tvpe tombent sous sa juridiction, mais la juridiction 
federale sur le transport des programmes en circuit 
ferme est discutee par un certain nombre de provinces 
et d'exploitants. 

Les atermoiements et les craintes federales sont 
indubitablement responsables de I'indecent et 
inhabituel emprcssement avec lequel le ministre federal 
des Communications a manifeste son desir de voir la 
television payanle introduite au Canada. II ne semble 
pas, ce faisant, se preoccuper beaucoup de la bonne 
marche de la telediffusion ni de la volonte populaire. II 
parait plutot motive par la peur de voir, a moins d'une 
intervention rapide du gouvernement federal, la 
television pavante s'implanler sans autorisaiion federale 
et atteindre tres rapidement un developpement qui 
rendrait toute reglementation future difficile, voire 
impossible. L'Ontario a deja autorise une telle entre- 
prise a Toronto mais, au moment oil nous ecrivons ce 
rapport, cette decision n'avait pas encore fail I'objet 
d'une decision judiciaire. 

Pour ces raisons il apparait urgent pour la 
telediffusion canadicnne qu'une reponse soit donnee a 
la question: "Dans quels cas la cablodiffusion ne releve- 
t-elle pas de la 'radiotelediffusion' ?" Cette clarification 



259 



est importante non seulement pour la television par 
cable, mais aussi pour la television en general. 

Le systenie de radiotelediffusion 

Les problemes du systeme de la radiotelediffusion 
canadienne peuvent etre envisages d'un point de vue 
different selon qu'ils interessent le lelespectateur, la 
radiodiffuseur. la cablodiffuseur ou le legislateur. 

1. Le telespectaieur 

La qualite et la quantite des services offerts par la 
television a ses spectateurs vanent beaucoup selon les 
regions du Canada. Les services offerts aux habitants 
des zones les plus reculees du pays sont nettement 
insuffisants malgre les efforts entrepris, notamment les 
envois d'enregistrements magnetoscopiques ou les 
stations-relais de faible puissance. Ces regions eloignees 
continueront a etre insuffisamment desservies tant que 
leur population ne se sera pas considerablement accrue 
ou que la reception directe par satellite ne sera pas 
possible, ce qui est peu probable avant une dizaine 
d'annees. Bien que le nombre des Canadiens vivant 
dans ces regions soit peu eleve. leur profond isolement 
et le manque d'activites intellectuelles et de distractions 
offertes devraient leur donner droit a une priorite 
absolue dans I'extension du service. 

Les habitants continuant leur immigration vers les 
villes, on enregistre une reduction reguliere de la 
population rurale du Canada. II est probable que d"ici 
dix ans. moins de cinq pour cent des Canadiens seront 
des ruraux ce qui signifie qu'il n'y aura plus qu'environ 
325,000 postes de television a la campagne. Actuelle- 
ment, ces spectateurs resolvent ce qu'ils peuvent capter 
de la transmission directe, en general au moins une 
station ou un relais de Radio-Canada et un de ctv. Leur 
cas sert avantageusement la cause d'une amelioration 
qualitative et quantitative de la television, puisqu"apres 
les regions eloignees, ce sont les zones rurales qui ont le 
moins d'activites sociales. Si on considere la television 
comme un service a la disposition du telespectaieur, 
c'est le facteur besoin qui dicte ces priorites, 

Les deux tiers des autres foyers recevant la television, 
ceux de nos villes et des zones urbaines, sont situes dans 
des zones oil ils peuvent ou pourront tres bientot 
souscrire a un systeme par cable et accroitre ainsi le 
choix de leurs programmes (voir tableau 1 1 ). II reste 
malgre tout plus de deux millions de foyers dans des 
endroits qui jusqu'a present n'ont pas presente un attrait 
commercial suffisant pour se voir offrir la 
cablodiffusion. 

L'exploitation du marche a abouti a fournir aux 
grandes villes deja les plus riches en activites les 
meilleurs choix en maliere de television. Les regions du 
Canada oil i'accroissement de la television serait socia- 
lement juste, celles aux besoins les plus pressants. sont 
les moins biens desservies. La situation des telespecta- 
teurs francophones au Canada anglophones est 
analogue. Les telespectateurs au Canada anglais et les 



telespectateurs anglophones au Canada fran^ais (mis a 
part Montreal) n'ont comme les habitants des 
campagnes acces qu'a un ou deux canaux. 

La television a choix multiple est accessible a un 
nombre croissant de Canadiens non en raison de leurs 
besoins reels mais en fonction des benefices qu'en tirent 
les maisons de diffusion. L'elargissement de ce choix se 
contend avec I'extension de la cablodiffusion. Le cable 
a permis aux televisions americaines de nous envahir et 
ce, au detriment de notre identite canadienne. Tous les 
boutons de I'adaptateur sont semblables et anonymes. 
Nous sommes loin de fage d'or". 

2. Le radiodiffuseur 

Le radiotelediffuseur avait en 1950 beaucoup plus 
d'espoir d'elargir son public qu'aujourd'hui. Bien qu'a 
I'epoque son public fut plus restreint, des auditeurs de 
radio de plus en plus nombreux achetaient un televiseur 
et rejoignaient le rang de telespectateurs ce qui lui 
ouvrait des perspectives de developpement conside- 
rables. Dans bien des regions d'ailleurs, il etait le seul 
producteur de television et recueillait done cent pour 
cent du public. II est vrai que le radiotelediffuseur situe 
pres de la frontiere devait entrer en concurrence avec les 
stations americaines; mais il avait alors des avantages 
compensatoires tels que la transmission de programmes 
americains bien souvent avant leur programmation 
americaine; il pouvait egalement offrir a ses telespecta- 
teurs canadiens des informations et un point de vue 
stnctement canadien. Menie I'introduction des secondes 
stations canadiennes dans les annees 1960 ne devait pas 
menacer serieusement le public de Radio-Canada et ce, 
parce que I'auditoire s'accroissait rapidement. Simple- 
ment, les gens regardaient plus souvent la television. Les 
revenus s'accrurent, la qualite des programmes 
canadiens aussi, et les stations canadiennes s'atta- 
cherent progressivement la plus grosse partie du public 
canadien, tout en diffusant un grand nombre d'emis- 
sions americaines. 

Les radiotelediffuseurs n'attendirent pas que la 
couleur soit rentable pour adapter leur materiel de 
telediffusion. En peu de temps cependant, leur public 
commencja a baisser en proportion avec I'entree en 
scene des nouvelles societes de cablodiffusion, qui 
assuraient aux telespectateurs urbains une meilleure 
reception de la couleur. Elles introduisirent egalement 
des signaux competitifs qui n'etaient pas disponibles 
jusque-la. Dans un premier temps, une partie du public 
s'orienta vers le cable et les choix qu'il offrait. Puis les 
recettes des telediffuseurs diminuerent avec leur public; 
ils perdirent encore du terrain quand les stations ameri- 
caines frontalieres, amenees sur le marche par cable, 
commencerent a les concurrencer non seulement vis-a- 
vis du public, mais aussi pour ce qui est du marche de la 
publicite canadienne, essentiel au financement des 
emissions. La situation etait particulierement mauvaise 
pour les telediffuseurs prives. Radio-Canada pouvait 
compter sur I'augmentation des credits parlementaires. 



260 



lui permettant de combler les manques a gagner pubiici- 
taires, d'epongcr I'augmentalion des couts des emissions 
et de faire concurrence aux chaines americaines. Mais 
les teledifTuseurs prives soufTraient a la fois de leur 
dependance a Tegard des recettes commerciaies et des 
prcssions exercees par le ( rtc pour les amener a etendre 
leur diffusion a un nombre toujours plus grand de 
Canadiens; ce qui augmentait evidemment leurs coiits 
d'exploilation sans leur garantir pour aulanl des 
revenus permellant de les couvrir. Ces differents 
facleurs amenerent les proprietaires des stations privees 
a economiser en reduisant leurs services locaux et a 
acquerir plus de programmes en cooperation avec 
d'autres stations. Ces developpemenls ont abouti a de 
grosses pertes pour les acteurs et les artistes canadiens. 

Le (RTC a essaye de limiter le nombre des stations 
utilisant le cable en interdisant Timportation des 
signaux par micro-ondes si ce n'est dans les zones oil 
meme une antenne commune ne suffirai! pas a une 
bonne reception. Le public, cependant. demandait a 
choisir; le c rtc ne put resister a ses pressions et ful 
oblige de se rendre. Pour financer leurs emissions, 
certains teleditluseurs solliciterent Tautorisation d'uti- 
liser la cablodiffusion. Le t r re s'y opposa pour des 
motifs assez obscurs. 

Alarme par Taugnientation massive des emissions 
non canadiennes importees au Canada par cable, le 
CRTC autorisa la creation d"une troisieme chaine 
canadienne (Global) qui promettait beaucoup mais fit 
faillite en moins d'un an. Ce nouveau reseau aggrava la 
situation des stations canadiennes en fragmenlant plus 
encore Tauditoire. Bien plus encore, la concurrence 
d'un nouveau reseau augmenta le cout des emissions 
pour tous les telediffuseurs canadiens. Ceci aboutit a 
une reduction des depenses dans les marches les moins 
importants du Canada. Ironiquement la faillite de 
Global fit reculer la production independante au 
Canada et elimina un bon nombre de petits 
producteurs. 

Les proprietaires actuels de Global se debattent 
toujours avec des programmes qui rappellent au crtc 
son manque de prevovance et de comprehension. Le 
CR II fut probablement soulage quand avorta un reseau 
semblable autorise au Canada fran(5'ais. Quand celui qui 
avait re(;u le permis essaya de le transferer a un autre 
telediffuseur francophone, on lui en refusa Tautorisa- 
ticn. En ce moment, les teledifl"useurs canadiens 
examinent la possibilite d'autoriser la television payante 
au meme tilrc que tout autre resau. F.lle se lancerail, elle 
aussi, dans la lutte pour la conquete du public, lequel en 
souscrivant en masse aux reseaux de cablovision 
approuve manifestement cette multiplication des choix 
qui lui sont offerts, 

3. Le aihlodiffitseur 

Le cablodiffuseur des debuts insistait sur le fait que son 
role se limitait a Iburnir aux telespectateurs une antenne 
plus elaboree; cette antenne permeilait au poste de 



television de capter plus de signaux emis de plus loin. 
L"abonne ne faisant que payer I'emploi du cable du 
diffuseur. Ce dernier se refusail a toute association avec 
les telediffuseurs et insistait pour rester en dehors de la 
production et des responsabilites qu'elle entraine. II 
n'accepta que lentement et sans enthousiasme I'idee 
d'etre assujetti a un permis et, non sans cynisme, en vint 
meme a accepter de produire des programmes locaux 
comme prix de la poursuite de .ses activites. C'est Tun 
des rares types d'entreprises qui ne doivent pas etre 
proprietaires de ce qu'elles vendent. Bien que le 
cablodiffuseur vende les programmes produits par les 
telediffuseurs, lui et ses associes ont traditionnellement 
refuse une responsabilite financiere quelconque dans la 
television classique canadienne. II aimerait accroitre le 
nombre des programmes qu'il vend a ses abonnes en 
ajoutant la television payante a ses autres canaux; pour 
I'obtenir. il est pret a payer les films qu'il presenterait a 
la television payante et meme a faire beneficier la 
telediffusion classique de ses gains selon des modalites 
que le trtc definirait. Bien qu'il ait considerablement 
elargi le menu offert aux telespectateurs au Canada, il 
ne se reconnait aucun role createur; il n'est qu'un 
conduit, un livreur lie par contrat a ses clients, quelque 
42 pour cent des foyers canadiens ayant la television. 

4. Le legislaieur 

Afin de pouvoir ajouter les telecommunications a la 
radio et a la television, le crtc a recemment vu sa 
competence elargie. En rapprochant les trois domaines 
el en les opposant souvent les uns aux autres la techno- 
logic rendait cette adjonclion necessaire. 

Au Canada, la radio se compose actuellement de 
deux reseaux publics entierement subventionnes, ceux 
de Radio-Canada am et fm, qui ne font ni Pun I'autre 
aucune publicite, ainsi que tout un secteur prive paral- 
lele. Les stations privees s'affronlent entre elles pour les 
recettes et se disputent avec Radio-Canada les faveurs 
du public. 

La television, quant a elle, presente des caracteris- 
liques plus complexes. Les reseaux anglais et fran(;ais de 
Radio-Canada sont finances par I'Etat a 80 pour cent 
mais dependent autant pour leur distribution au niveau 
national de reseaux de television prives et des 
cabloditTuseurs que des transmetleurs qu'ils possedent 
et exploiteni eux-niemes dans quelques grandes villes. 
Le reseau c i\, emettani en anglais seulement. est prive 
et finance par la publicite. Bien qu'il soil competitif 
dans presque lout le pays, il manque de capitaux pour 
etendre son service. 

Le reseau Global fonctionne dans le Sud de I'Ontario. 
Des "troisiemes" stations ont recemment ele aulorisees 
a Winnipeg. Edmonton el Vancouver et la region de 
Toronto: Hamilton compte deux stations indepen- 
danies. Le gouvernemcnt de I'Oniario exploite des 
stations I ill a Toronto, London et Ottawa et envisage 
d'etendre ses reseaux educatifs no a d'autres parties de 
la province. 



261 



Au Quebec, tva propose des programmes en fran9ais 
qui obtiennent un succes certain mais manque de 
ressources pour faire seneusemeni concurrence aux 
reseaux franqais de Radio-Canada. Ses programmes 
sont relransmis par plusieurs "deuxiemes" stations. Le 
gouvernemenl du Quebec produit un programme 
educatif en franqais relaye par micro-ondes a des 
reseaux de cablodiffusion. II n'y a pas ici de troisieme 
station comme dans le Canada anglais. 

Le CRTC a fixe deux buts principaux a la telediffusion 
canadienne: atteindre autant de Canadiens que possible 
et accroitre la part des emissions canadiennes dans les 
programmes. Pour s'etre trop concentre sur ces buts. il 
ne s'est pas aperqu avant la fin des annees soixante des 
consequences du developpement rapide des reseaux de 
cablodiffusion. car le cable n'augmentait de faqon 
appreciable ni I'etendue des regions couvertes ni le 
contenu canadien des emissions. L'importation d'un 
grand nombre de stations non-canadiennes dans des 
zones oil elles n'etaient pas autorisees auparavant 
represente une menace pour les stations canadiennes 
privees. Mais quand le crtc s'en est rendu compte, il 
etait trop tard pour changer quoi que ce soit. Le public 
voulait les choix supplementaires qu"off"rait le cable et 
ne manifestait pas un interet particulier pour la question 
du caractere canadien du contenu ou les problemes 
financiers de la telediffusion canadienne. 

Le CRTC essaya bien par la suite de proteger les 
stations privees canadiennes en limilant le nombre des 
signaux longue distance que les societes de 
cablodiflTusion etaient autorisees a transmettre, mais 
c'etait donner un coup d'epee dans Teau. Dans une 
tentative desesperee pour obtenir quelque chose pour le 
telespectateur et pour les createurs. il obligea les 
societes de cablodiffusion a produire sur place. Cepen- 
dant, rares sont les cablodiffuseurs ayant une experience 
de remission de television ou un desir quelconque de 
devenir realisateurs. lis prefereraient acheter et projeter 
de vieux films. De toute faqon, il ne semble pas que 
leurs efforts de creation locale aient ete tres populaires. 

Le CRTC a refuse, comme le suggerait un certain 
nombre de societes de television, de leur permettre de 
posseder a la fois une television a diffusion classique et 
une societe de cablodiffusion. Leur idee etait d'utiliser 
les recettes du cable pour remplacer les profits publici- 
taires perdus par I'eparpillement du public dCi au cable 
et d'utiliser ces ressources pour garantir des emprunts. 
On peut. a posteriori, dire que cette decision du crtc fut 
une erreur fatale. Aujourd'hui, avec sept ans de retard, 
le ministre federal des Communications propose la 
meme solution pour tenter d"arreter I'erosion de la 
television canadienne. Mais il est. selon toute probabi- 
lite. trop tard. Si le c rtc avail permis la double 
possession en 1970-1972. a une epoque oil il rapatriait 
les avoirs des societes de cablodiffusion appartenant a 
des etrangers. les societes de telediffusion auraient pu 
financierement I'envisager. Aujourd'hui. les liens 
unissant les societes de telediffusion et les societes de 



telediffusion et les societes de cablodiffusion seraient 
devenus logiquement et naturellement indissociables. 
Bien des problemes ulterieurs auraient ete epargnes au 
CRTC. II est probable que les avoirs en cause depassent 
de nos jours les capacites financieres des societes 
canadiennes de telediffusion. En I'absence de cette 
interdependance cable/telediffusion. les gouvernements 
provinciaux se sentent libres d'accroitre leur pretention 
a reglementer les operations de cablodiffusion. et la 
querelle des competences reste sans solution. 

Poussant plus loin son desir de proteger le contenu 
canadien du systeme de telediffusion, le crtc 
commenqa en 1975 a exiger I'abandon et le rempla- 
cement des publicites que les stations americaines 
diffusaient par cable au Canada; ce qui suscita la colere 
des stations frontalieres americaines qui, on le 
comprend, ne sont pas desireuses de perdre les recettes 
que leur vaut leur public canadien. Le Secretaire d'Etat 
amencain a recemment proteste aupres du ministre 
Canadien des Affaires Exterieures, qui a d'ailleurs lui- 
meme eu des interets dans la television, et qui auraii 
repondu: "Quelque chose sera fait". Au moment oil 
nous ecrivons, le crtc a "momentanement suspendu" 
I'exigence de I'abandon de la publicite. 

Le probleme auquel se heurte le crtc est que les 
Canadiens s'abonnent a un systeme de television qui 
offre un choix varie mais pas national. Le contenu 
canadien et I'authenticite du service se reduisent a 
mesure qu'il autorise un nombre croissant de stations de 
television canadiennes prives qui s'appuient sur les 
recettes que leur foumit la publicite. La concurrence des 
emissions americaines importees par cable reduit encore 
les recettes. 

Radio-Canada peut, bien siir, demander une augmen- 
tation des credits au Parlement, mais cela I'entraine 
progressivement vers un systeme de telediffusion entie- 
rement finance par le gouvemement avec ce que cela 
comporte de problemes particuliers, au niveau de sa 
credibilite, de son controle, de sa liberte d'expression, 
problemes dans lesquels se debattent encore de 
nombreux systemes nationalises, ceux de la France et de 
I'ltalie notamment. 

Le danger actuel le plus manifeste est de voir le 
developpement rapide du systeme canadien de 
cablodiffusion a vaste choix avec sa dependance envers 
des stations etrangeres etouffer progressivement la 
television canadienne du secteur prive et meme peut- 
etre "enterrer" Radio-Canada. 



262 



Chapitre quatre 

Les difficultes de la Production televisee canadienne 



Le plus gros probleme de la production televisee 
canadienne est. bien sur, financier. 

La creativite dans les centres de production n'est pas 
moins essentielle. Radio-Canada a toujours ete le 
principal realisateur en television au Canada, meme si 
dans I'ensemble il n'a pas fail aulant, proportionnel- 
lement que les societes de television privees pour 
favoriser un climat createur. Ulle a peu fait pour 
supporter les artistes, les realisateurs, les metteurs en 
scene de talent, etrangers a son propre personnel. Elle a 
au contraire fonctionne un peu comme une serre. 
controlant son ambiance interne sans se soucier de ce 
qui se passe au dehors. 

Cette tradition de la radio de Radio-Canada a ete 
adoptee tres tot par la television. D"ou une augmen- 
tation rapide de son personnel de creation. Alors que les 
budgets semblaient toujours comprimcs. la television de 
Radio-Canada devenait autonome. moins efficace et 
moins competitive que les createurs et les groupes "de 
I'exterieur". Une part toujours plus grande de la reali- 
sation des programmes, qualifiee de "couts de produc- 
tion", passait en fait dans les couts de fonctionnement 
interne. 

Le pire etait cependant que I'enveloppe destinee a 
encourager la production externe n'augmentait pas. 
Cela fut vrai pendant de nombreuses annees pour la 
production cinematographique. jusqu'a ce que le 
cinema, exploitant ses propres marches, etablisse .son 
propre monde createur local. La production electro- 
nique n'a. quant a elle. pas connu ce probleme. A moins 
qu'on ne remedie a cette situation, une renaissance de la 
production canadienne dc television est impossible. Les 
budgets, non le talent, sont en general tonus pour 
responsables de fincapacite des programmes de 
television canadiens a conquerir les marches etrangers 
comme I'ont fait les programmes commerciaux anglais 
et meme auslraliens. Mail il y a de bonnes raisons de 
croire. qu'au Canada, les capacites a produire 
manquent autant que le talent. "Jalna". produit a 
grands frais par Radio-Canada, en est une exemple 
type. 

Aux F.tats-Unis. les trois reseaux de television les plus 
importants ont proportionnellement fait plus pour 



alimenter la creativite employant un maximum de 
createurs independants. Les reseaux americains ne 
produisent eux-memes que deux ou trois programmes 
(en dehors des informations); le reste provient de 
producteurs independants; il est interessant de noter 
que cette situation est le resultat des directives donnees 
par la Commission federale americaine pour les 
communications. 

L'injection de capitaux supplementaires dans la 
programmation ne suffirait pas a rendre les productions 
canadiennes de television competitives avec les 
programmes americains. Par contre, si les credits actuel- 
lement disponibles etaient depenses sur un marche libre 
plutot qu"a I'interieur de Radio-Canada, la qualite des 
personnes disponibles s'ameliorerait et leur nombre irait 
en s'accroissant. Cela entrainerait une diminution des 
depenses internes de Radio-Canada en dimmuant une 
partie du personnel technique, administralif. comptable 
et dirigeant (voir tableau J). 

Les producteurs independants peuvent aussi bien 
faire a moindre prix. Radio-Canada serait alors 
dependant de la creation externe mais pourrait porter 
sur ses programmes desjugements impartiaux. La 
creativite s'epanouit dans la liberte et la concurrence, 
qualites qui font actuellemeni defaut a la television 
canadienne. 

La societe privee crv a, avec des ressources nettement 
inferieures, accompli un travail bien meilleur que 
Radio-Canada en attirant, fautede pouvoir faire autre- 
ment, la coproduction externe. Mais ct\ seule ne peut 
creer un climat favorable a la creativite. Cela ne peut se 
produire qu"a condition que le moyen normal d'elaborer 
les programmes de television soit la libre concurrence 
entre producteurs. metteurs en scene et scenaristes 
comme c'est le cas dans la plupart des grands centres de 
production du monde. 

II serait bon egalement de diminuer les efforts 
consacres aux productions regionales a vocation 
nationale jusqu";i ce que les grands centres. Toronto, 
Montreal et peut-etre Vancouver, aient cree le climat 
favorable el de\eloppe un corps de createurs concur- 
rents capables de rehausser les normes de la production 
aciuelle de la television canadienne. Au stade oil nous 



263 



en sommes. il vaudrait mieux limiter les programmes 
regionaux de diffusion nationale en augmentant leur 
qualite que de produire. comme cela se passe dans la 
pluparl des regions, des imitations de programmes 
nationaux. Dix tournages de grands films dans une 
region vaudraient mieux qu'une centaine des 
prosrammes qu'on nous offre aujourd'hui. Les series 
deslelevisions americaines sont souvent tournees dans 
differentes regions du pays, mais les acteurs et le 
personnel de production viennent habituellement des 
grands centres. Chicago. Houston et la Nouvelle- 
Orleans ne sont pas les centres de production nationale 
amencaine. alors pourquoi Halifax et Winnipeg seraient 
eux des centres nationaux? 

S"il nous semble important de discuter climat et 
circonstances avant de parler d"argent. c'est simplement 
parce qu'augmenter les ressources de la television 
canadienne Vamenera pas plus de Canadiens a regarder 
les programmes realises au Canada. Au prealable. le 
climat dans lequel se fait la production doit changer. 
Mais il ne peut evoluer sans argent, beaucoup d'argent. 
au moins le double ou le triple des sommes dont dispose 
actuellement la production canadienne. Si la quantite et 
la qualite des programmes canadiens doivent 
augmenler. une telle augmentation budgetaire doit etre 
accompagnee d'un plus grand souci d'efficacite. Une 
augmentation, de Tordre du double ou du triple, des 
budgets des programmes, accompagnee d'un 
changement radical de la politique de Temploi. amelio- 
rerait'considerablement la television canadienne. 



264 



Chapitre cinq 

CoLit du present systeme 



Au Canada, la radio ct la television, autrefois organisees 
selon des schemas semblables, sont aujourd'hui bien 
distinctes. 

Le systeme de radiodifTusion existant se compose 
d'une part du reseau national Radio-Canada, puisant 
ses ressources de la publicitc ct des credits parlemen- 
taires. ct d'autre part de stations privees financees 
uniquement par la publicite. Recemment. Radio- 
Canada, dont on avait peu a peu limite les benefices 
publicitaires, a change de politique et ne propose plus 
du tout de publicite. 

Les revenus que les stations privees de radio tirent de 
la publicite seront d"en\iron .'6213.6 millions en 1976. 
alors que ceux des stations de television atteindront 
$305 millions (Source: MacI.ean Hunter Research 
Bureau). La radio de Radio-Canada recevra environ 
$100 millions de credits parlementaires. Le modele 
semble etre aujourd'hui bien defini avec d'une part un 
systeme entierement finance par I'Elat et d'autre part un 
systeme exclusivement prive. lis assurent ensemble les 
.services locaux el nationaux; la part non canadienne du 
contenu des emissions de radio est relalivement taible. 
Le systeme a Pair de fonctionner, encore que les avis 
soient partages sur la nature du service des programmes 
de Radio-Canada. 

La teleditVusion est aussi composee d'une branche a 
financement mixte public et prive (les reseaux anglais et 
fran(,'ais de Radio-Canada), des stations de television 
privees. et des cabloditTuseurs. Les recettes pour 1976 
sont estimees comme suit: 

(en millions de dollars) 
Credits parlementaires (Radio-Canada) 316 

Publicite .305 

Cable 190 

roTAi.: 911 

De ce total, environ $375 millions iront a la program- 
mation de I'ensemble de la television canadienne. Le 
cable touche environ 42 pour cent (2.500.000) des foyers 
ayant la tele\ isii>n. 

En supposant qu'aucun changcmcnt de ses politiques 
de base n'affecte le systeme actuel, et que le dcvelop- 



pement economique du pays se poursuive au meme 
rythme. la masse des recettes disponibles devrait 
s'etablir comme suit: 



1977 



Credits parlementaires 

(mux de croissance moven des 
4 dcrnieres annees: 1 7.8%) 

Publicite (v compris Radio-Canada) 

Cable 

(Moyeime des 3 dcrnieres annees) 

toial: 



(en millions de dollars) 
372.3 



329.2 
210.6 

912.1 



(en millions de dollars) 

Credits a la programmation 420.9 

(60'r des credits parlementaires 
plus la publicite) 

Penetration du cable 2.900.000 foyers (44.5%) 

(Movenne des .? dernieres annees du CKTCi 



1978 

Credits parlementaires 438.5 

Publicite (v compris Radio-Canada) 355.2 

Cable " 265.4 

total: 1.059.1 

Credits a la proerammation 476.2 

Penetration du cable 3.400.000 foyers (51.5%) 



1979 

Credits parlementaires 515.6 

Publicite (y compris Radio-Canada) 383. 1 

Cable ' 330.5 

total: 1.229.2 

Credits a la programmation 539.2 

Penetration du cable: 4.000.000 de fovers (61%) 



265 



1980 



(en millions de dollars) 



Credits parlementaires 

Publicite (y compris Radio-Canada) 

Cable 

total: 

Credits a la programmation 
Penetration du cable: 4.600.000 foyers 

1981 

Credits parlementaires 

Publicite (v compris Radio-Canada) 

Cable 

total: 

Credits a la programmation 
Penetration du cable: 5.200.000 foyers 

1982 

Credits parlementaires 

Publicite (v Compris Radio-Canada) 

Cable 

total: 



608.5 
412.5 
407.1 

1,428.1 

612.6 
(68.66%) 



716.6 
447.5 
491.7 

1.655.8 

698.4 

(77%) 



844.4 
447.5 
585.0 

1.876.9 



Credits a la programmation 835.0 

Penetration du cable: 5.200.000 foyers (77%) 

N.B. Apres 1981. on ne prend plus en compte I'expansion 
du cable mais on suppose une augmentation desfrais 
d'abonnemeni de 6%. 



1983 



(en millions de dollars) 



Credits parlementaires 


994.7 


Publicite (v compris Radio-Canada) 
Cable 


517.5 
620.2 


total: 


2,132.3 


Credits a la programmation 
Penetration du cable: 5,200,000 foyers 


907.3 

(77%) 


1984 




Credits parlementaires 

Publicite (v compris Radio-Canada) 

Cable 


1.171,8 

552.5 
657.4 


total: 


2,381.7 


Credits a la programmation 


1,040.5 


Penetration du cable: 5,200,000 foyers 


(77%) 


1985 (en millions 


de dollars) 


Credits parlementaires 

Publicite (v compris Radio-Canada) 

Cable 


1,380.4 
587.5 
696.8 


total: 


2,664.7 


Credits a la programmation 
Penetration du cable: 5,200,000 foyers 


1,180,7 
(77%) 



1986 (en millions 


de dollars) 


Credits parlementaires 

Publicite (y compris Radio-Canada) 

Cable 


1.626.1 
622.5 
736.6 


total: 


2,987.2 


Credits a la programmation 
Penetration du cable: 5.200,000 foyers 


1,349.0 

(77%) 


1987 




Credits parlementaires 

Publicite (v compris Radio-Canada) 

Cable 


1.915.5 
657.5 
730.8 


total: 


3,353.6 


Credits a la programmation 
Penetration du cable: 5.200.000 foyers 


1.543.6 

(77%) 


1988 




Credits parlementaires 

Publicite (y compris Radio-Canada) 

Cable 


2.256.5 
692.5 
827.7 


total: 


3.736.7 


Credits a la programmation 
Penetration du cable: 5.200.000 foyers 


1.769.4 
(77%) 



Les problemes du systeme actuel sont faciles a cerner 
mais difficiles a resoudre. 

1. A mesure que le choix augmente. la part 
canadienne dans les services proposes en anglais au 
telespectateurs diminue. 

2. Les programmes canadiens en anglais attirent 
moins de telespectateurs canadiens que les programmes 
etrangers. 

3. Le reseau n'offre ni le climat ni fargent indispen- 
sables a I'amelioration des programmes canadiens. 

4. Alors que le role de la television par cable se 
developpe dans la structure des recettes du reseau 
canadien. aucune partie de ses revenus ne sert a 
financer et a ameliorer les programmes qu'elle relaie. 

5. Les revenus de la publicite. principal support de la 
television privee et representant quelque 20 pour cent 
du budget de la television de la Societe Radio-Canada, 
se reduisent vraisemblablement au fur et a mesure de la 
fragmentation du public. (II n'a pas ete tenu compte de 
cette deterioration dans les chiffres cites.) 

6. Dans Petat actuel des choses, et faute de stimulant 
pour etendre le cable au.x regions rurales, le reseau ne 
sera jamais accessible a tous les Canadiens. 

7. L"autonte publique a separe les partenaires 
naturels qu'etaient le cable et la radiodiffusion 
classique. creant dans le milieu un climat nefaste, 

8. Le manque de cohesion entre les ditTerentes 
composantes de la telediffusion empeche le develop- 
pement normal de la technologic en ce domaine. 

9. Le cout d'un reseau de television, meme insatisfai- 
sant, continuera a croitre et fentrainera de plus en plus 



266 



vers un systeme oil I'Etat sera le seul financier. 

Dans les cinq prochaines annees. les credits parle- 
mcnlaires pour la television (Radio-Canada) totali- 
seront a pen prcs $2.6 milliards s'ils continuent a 
augmentcr an rvthmc dcs dernieres annees. Kn 1981. si 
les installations progrcssenl au rythme actual, environ 
75% du Canada sera branche sur le cable, ce qui repre- 
sente I'expansion commerciale maximale de reseau 
actuel (voir tableau H). Cela signifie aussi que deux 
millions de foyers auront un service de deuxieme classe 
ou pire. Si le systeme actuel, qui n"atte>int que les trois- 
quarts des foyers canadiens, se prolongeait au-dela de 
1981. d'ici a 1988 les credits parlemcntaires attcin- 
draient presque 13 milliards de dollars, avec proba- 
blement en plus une reduction de la proportion des 
Canadiens suivant des emissions canadiennes. sur un 
service deja massivement dependant de I'etranger et 
echappant au controle canadien. 

Le coLit du systeme actuel ira en s'accroissant au 
cours des annees a \enir tant pour les telespectateurs 
que pour IT.tat. Mais Tironie du systeme veut que I'aug- 
mentation des coiits s'accompagne d'une diminution de 
la qualite des programmes canadiens. surtout dans le 
secteur prive. Dans le meme temps I'expansion du cable 
encourage les telespectateurs canadiens a regarder plus 
de programmes americains au detriment des 
programmes canadiens. A son tour, faute de ressources 
suffisantes, la qualite des programmes canadiens accen- 
tuera sa deterioration ct. avec elle, la baisse des recettes. 

Les credits parlemcntaires pour Radio-Canada 
devront alors etre augmentes. A la longue, les telespec- 
tateurs paieront toujours plus cher des programmes 
canadiens toujours moins populaires. E)ans le cadre du 
systeme actuel, les donnees de ce probleme ne 
changeront pas, non plus que les conditions dans 
lesquelles la production televisee pourrail s'ameliorer. 

Comme nous le faisions remarquer plus haut, il y a 
peu de chance pour que la penetration du cable 
n'excede jamais 75 pour cent des foyers canadiens 
recevant la television, ce niveau devant etre atteint, au 
rythme de croissance actuel, vers 1981. Le quart restant 
ne peut esperer un elargissement de ses choix de 
programmes ni une amelioration du service, a moins 
qu'ils ne soient cntierement finances par I'Elat. Or, a 
moins d'unc revision radicalc du svsteme, les credits 
consentis par I'Etat devront continuer a etre votes au 
taux de progression actuel et peui-etre meme a un taux 
superieur, si, d'ici 1981, le cable, present dans 75 pour 
cent des foyers canadiens, empeche la television privee 
classique de maintenir le niveau actuel de sa program- 
mation. A ce moment-la, les revenus tires de la publicite 
diminueront non seulement pour les societes privees. 
mais aussi pour Radio-Canada. 

Et comment pourrait-on chilTrer la perte eprouvee 
par la creation artistique au Canada quand les telespec- 
tateurs dependront toujours plus des emissions ameri- 
caines, des valeurs qu'elles defendent et de la conviction 
profonde que la violence est une theme payant? 



II est impensable d'envisager un tel avenir pour le 
Canada. L'opinion publique exigera certainement des 
changements, a I'lmage de la creation, en 1933, d'une 
radiodiflTusion d'Etat qui transforma I'avenir de la 
radiodiffusion au Canada. 

Nous avons un besoin urgent d'un systeme de 
telediffusion adaple a notre epoque et d'une legislation 
sur la telediflTusion qui un service authentiquement 
canadien que tous les Canadiens pourraieni regarder et 
que le pays pourrait financierement se permettre. Nous 
devrions, des a present, oeuvrer pour instituer un tel 
systeme. 



267 



Chapitre six 

Structure horizontale et structure verticale 



On peut dire de la television qu'elle a aujourd'hui une 
structure horizontale. Une station ou un reseau presente 
des programmes differentes les uns apres les autres, du' 
matin au soir. Le directeur de la station essaie de 
presenter ses programmes en fonction des heures 
d"ecoute du public qu'il veut attirer. Toutes les stations 
d'une meme region s'affrontent en permanence pour 
s'assurer une partie du public total. 

La structure horizontale s"est developpee parce que 
Tensemble du service televise est fourni par des 
organismes divises, sans coordination, et dont la seule 
preoccupation est d'obtenir la plus forte cote d'ecoute. 
Dans les regions desservies par le cable, il arrive que 
deu.x stations relayees par cable presentent les memes 
emissions en meme temps. Un tel double emploi peut se 
produire quand une station americaine relayee par un 
reseau de cablodiffusion transmet un programme 
americain qui est en meme temps diffuse par un reseau 
canadien, ou quand les aires de diffusion de deux 
reseaux canadiens affilies se chevauchent. Cela arrive 
aussi quand les memes emissions sont diffusees a la fois 
par une station americaine et par une station 
canadienne. avec un tres leger decalage equivalent a un 
chevauchement partiel. 

La programmation horizontale augmente la proba- 
bilite de voir le meme programme apparaitre simulta- 
nement sur plusieurs canaux de cable: il arrive aussi que 
des emissions appartenant au meme genre soient 
presentees concurremment pour mieux conquerir le 
public disponible. Ceci est particulierement vrai pour 
les heures d'ecoute des adultes. 

Le systeme de programmation horizontale est le plus 
courant dans tous les pays oil la telediffusion est fondee 
sur la concurrence. La cablodiffusion a accru cette 
concurrence en multipliant le nombre de programmes a 
diffusion horizontale. 

Le systeme horizontal, quand il n'a pas le profit pour 
base, programme en fonction de la composition 
moyenne du public et. quand il repose sur le profit, en 
fonction du public le plus pavant. Dans ce genre de 
systeme, meme avec le vaste choix permis par le conver- 
tisseur au reseau du cable, on ne diffuse, par exemple. 
que peu d'emissions pour enfants, ce public n"elant pas 



considere comme lucratif. Le public a atteindre en 
priorile, c'est le grand public ou par exemple le public 
feminin. surtout urbain et aise, car il represente plus de 
consommateurs, plus d'acheteurs potentiels des biens et 
des services vantes par la publicite. C'est pourquoi les 
telespectateurs appartenant a des minorites trouvent 
peu d'interet aux emissions qu'ils peuvent regarder, 
meme avec les avantages d'un reseau par cable. C'est 
que ce ne sont pas des consommateurs interessants. 
C'est aussi une des raisons pour lesquelles on trouve un 
si large choix d'emissions pour adultes aux heures oil les 
enfants seraient le plus a meme de regarder la television. 
Ces programmes ne sont pas necessairement mauvais: 
simplement, ils ne sont pas conqus pour les enfants, qui 
ne se sentent pas concernes. 

II y a une certaine ironie dans le fait que le cable 
pourrait servir a ameliorer la programmation et que n"y 
etant pas incitees. le societes de cablodiffusion ne le 
fassent pas. En fait, c'est la definition qu'en donnent la 
Loi sur la radiodiffusion et les reglements du crtc, qui 
obligent les reseaux de cable a n'etre que les 
mecanismes de relais de ce qu'ils captent sur les ondes. 
Tous les desavantages deja decrits de notre systeme 
actuel (mauvaise qualite technique, frequentation du 
public canadien. diminution du public canadien d'emis- 
sions canadiennes, limitation du choix par chevau- 
chement ou double programmation, absence 
d'emissions interessanl les minorites aux heures qui leur 
conviennent, priorite accordee en permanence aux 
programmes pour adultes) decoulent de cette definition. 

Avec I'implantation sans cesse croissante de la 
television par cable, il est techniquement possible 
d'eviter plusieurs de ces defauts, a condition que les 
programmes soient conqus pour un systeme offrant un 
choix veritablement large. lis ne le sont pas pour le 
moment et ne nsqueni pas de le devenir si la 
telediffusion persevere dans son etat actuel. Seule une 
transformation radicale de la telediffusion canadienne 
et le developpement de la programmation verticale qui 
suppose que les chaines se specialisent dans une 
calegorie de programmes, permettraient d'atteindre 
ce but. 

Un service a programmation verticale, tel que nous le 



268 



decrivons ci-dessous. permettrait au telespectateur de 
composer sa propre grille d'emissions en fonction de ce 
qui I'interesse et de son horaire d'ccoutc. Des emissions 
pour enfants pourraient alors elrc programmees, plus 
varices et plus nomhreuses que dans le systeme 
horizontal, el dans un sens, plus fatiles a controler pour 
les parents. Les emissions interessant les adultes 
pourraient etre plus aisement programmees, et a des 
heures plus tardives. 

Toutes les emissions de toutes les categories seraient 
commanditees ou achetees et produites par le systeme 
lui-meme. I.es programmes canadiens et etrangers de la 
meme eategorie seraient juxtaposes. I! n'y aurait plus 
besoin d'imposer un quota canadicn. I'accenl ctant 
desormais mis. dans chacune des categories, sur la 
qualite el I'interet. La publicite pourrail. si on le 
souhaite, etre exdue a certaines heures ou sur certaines 
chaines. 

La television a programmation verticaie serait 
planifiee et ses horaires coordonnes par un organisme 
independanl. Au Canada, il taudrait distinguer la 
planilication des horaires des programmes anglais de 
celles des programmes franqais. Pour commencer, 12 
canaux pourraient etre programmes verticalement. Ce 
chifi're a ete choisi parce que tous les postes de television 
peuvent en recevoir autant sans qu'il soil necessaire 
d'utiliser un convertisseur. II a aussi ete choisi parce 
qu'il correspond au nombre de canaux transmissibles 
par satellite dont on dispose des aujourd'hui pour la 
distribution nationale qu'impliquerait ce genre de 
systeme. 

Les possibilites se multiplieront avec I'elargissement 
du systeme et Taugmentation du nombre de canaux 
disponibles. On pourra alors difTuser les memes 
programmes a des heures differentes, ou difTuser des 
programmes centres sur des sujets particuliers: sports, 
musique, documentaires, langues etrangeres. etc. Un tel 
systeme pourrail presenter I'ensemble de la production 
canadienne en y ajtuitant presque toutes les emissions 
etrangeres disponibles en anglais et en fran(;ais. ce qui 
lui assurerait un immense potentiel. Toutes les 
emissions radio de Radio-Canada, dans les deux 
langues, pourraient etre dislribuees partout au Canada, 
en modulation de frequence, moven de distribution bien 
plus etficace que celui aciuellement utilise. 



269 



Chapitre sept 

Systeme propose 



Seuls, des fonds suffisants et des services de realisation 
permettant de produire suffisamment d'emissions de 
haute quaiite. avantageusement comparabies a celies 
des pays etrangers. en particulier des Etats-Unis, 
permettraient la mise en place d"un systeme de 
telediffusion ideal qui saurait se meriter I'interet reel des 
telespectateurs. Les emissions, completees par un vaste 
choix puise parmi les productions etrangeres les 
meilleures et les plus appreciees. seraient accessibles a 
tous les Canadiens, dans le deux langues nationales. 
Elles devraient etre programmees verticalement. sur au 
moins 12 canaux, ce qui permettrait aux telespectateurs. 
quels que soient leurs gouts, de voir les emissions qui les 
interessent plutot que d'avoir san