CRTC recommends split of TV fund

Also suggests cultural stream for indie shows

OTTAWA -- Canada's broadcast regulator on Thursday recommended that the Canadian Television Fund be split into separate commercial and cultural streams.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, in a report on the CAN$280 million ($274 million) TV production fund, proposed a private-sector stream to support ratings-driven primetime shows for private Canadian broadcasters.

The CRTC also recommended that a second cultural stream of funding go toward indie shows for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and other not-for-profit TV broadcasters.

The regulatory report was prompted by complaints from rebel cable operators that their contributions to the CTF were funding homegrown TV shows that Canadians do not watch.

The federal government, which must now consider the proposed CRTC reforms of the CTF, puts about CAN$120 million ($117 million) into the fund annually.

The CTF is the main source of public/private subsidies for independent producers of Canadian primetime shows that also sell internationally.