Specialty Channels Join Broadcast Standards Council

OTTAWA, December 11, 1997 - Specialty and premium services affected by Canada’s new television ratings system have joined the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC).

Specialty and Premium Television Association (SPTV) members joining CBSC include The Comedy Network; Discovery Channel; Fairchild Television; History Television; Outdoor Life; Prime; Showcase Television; TELETOON; and WTN. Another SPTV member, Vision TV, was the first specialty channel to join the CBSC in April of this year.

Introduced in September, the new ratings icons are already familiar to Canadian viewers tuning in at the beginning of drama, children’s and reality-based programming, along with feature films. The CBSC is best known as the arbitrator in disputes relating to television and radio programs subject to its Code of Ethics, Sex-Role Portrayal Code and Violence Code. It also acts as the arbitrator in disputes regarding the classification of television programs. The Council is currently working with broadcasters to plan the structure of a clearinghouse for ratings information. News, weather, sports and documentary programming are exempt from the new ratings system.

“We are thrilled to have so many specialty services joining the CBSC. It is a testament to the commitment which they and SPTV have to the classification system and to the self-regulatory process,” said Ron Cohen, National Chair of the CBSC.

SPTV president Jane Logan noted that the CBSC’s role as arbitrator for classification and code-related issues is important for audiences. She also said the CBSC’s projected database of ratings information will be a valuable aid to consistent and accurate program ratings for broadcasters.

The CBSC was created in 1990 as Canada’s self-regulatory organization for private sector broadcasters. Since its inception, the CBSC has responded to over 2,200 public complaints and issued over 70 decisions regarding radio and television programming.

Founded in late 1996, SPTV represents the interests of Canada’s specialty and premium channels to viewers, government and regulators with the objective of supporting a strong Canadian broadcasting system. SPTV operates with the support of 80% of the specialty and premium television industry, based on revenues.

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