August 7, 2015
Moving forward with another Let’s Talk TV decision, the CRTC has issued a revised exemption order for hybrid class of video-on-demand (VOD) services, formally adding an HVOD category to the list of exempt VOD services.
Traditionally, the CRTC has classified VOD services as either broadcaster owned and operated broadcasting distribution undertaking (BDU) services or online-only video services operating under the digital media exemption order (DMEO).
Most licensed VOD services are BDU-owned. These BDU-specific VOD services can only be accessed with a BDU subscription and are only offered through the particular technological platform used by the BDU. For example, CraveTV is linked to Bell cable TV subscriptions and can only be accessed through a subscription with Bell, Eastlink, SaskTel or Telus.
BDU-specific VOD services also have specific regulatory obligations relating to Canadian programming similar to the requirements for programming services. Different rules apply to unlicensed online video services authorized under the DMEO. The third, hybrid class will cover those VODs that fall somewhere between the two traditional CRTC classifications. These hybrid video-on-demand or HVOD services will benefit from the same flexibility as services operating under the DMEO structure.
HVODs will have the ability to offer their services on a closed BDU network like traditional VOD services without having to meet the specific regulatory requirements relating to financial contributions to and shelf space for Canadian programming applicable to traditional VOD services. However, in order to qualify, services must also be available to Canadians online, regardless of whether or not they have a BDU subscription. CraveTV has made a move in this direction, recently announcing a wide-release for January 1st.