Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Satellite Radio's SiriusXM Canada Wants CRTC to Relax Home-Grown Content Rules

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Satellite Radio's SiriusXM Canada Wants CRTC to Relax Home-Grown Content Rules

Article excerpt

SiriusXM-Canada to ask CRTC for laxer terms

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Money-losing satellite radio provider SiriusXM Canada wants its mandatory contributions to Canadian content development slashed by the federal broadcast regulator to better compete with conventional radio stations.

The Toronto-based satellite radio company will appear before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on Thursday to have its licence renewed, the first renewal since it was granted in 2005.

SiriusXM Canada will ask the CRTC to cut its yearly contribution from five per cent of its gross revenues to 0.5 per cent -- the rate paid by commercial radio station operators.

"It's just bringing us in line with what conventional radio pays," said Mark Redmond, chief executive of parent company Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (TSX:XSR).

SiriusXM Canada will have paid $52 million to the CRTC for Canadian content development by the end of this fiscal year since 2005, the company said in documents filed to the regulator.

Redmond said when the satellite radio company launched, it was treated like a cable company when the CRTC determined how much it would contribute to the development of Canadian content. He noted that some conventional radio stations have had their contribution rates reduced when their licences have been renewed.

"All we're requesting is to bring our expenditures in line with conventional radio -- not lower -- in line with what they pay."

Shares in parent company Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. were down 8.2 per cent, or 30 cents, to $3.35 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Redmond said SiriusXM Canada also has to compete against pay-for audio services and digital music services.

"If you look back seven years ago when we launched the business in Canada, the iPhone wasn't even in the market nor were the multiple online music services," he said.

"We believe they are a threat to us moving forward."

SiriusXM Canada also competes against digital music subscription services such as Rdio, Slacker Radio and Montreal-based Stingray Digital, a multi-platform music service provider, as well as free services such as Shoutcast. …

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