Less than 48-hours after Canadian broadcaster CTV asked the broadcast regulator, the CRTC, to approve CDN$5.5 million (US$4 million) previously earmarked for docs to instead finance drama, it withdrew the proposal. The reason: doc-makers spoke up. ‘We were prepared to go to the [CRTC] and scream bloody murder,’ says Sandy Crawley, national exec. director of the Documentary Organisation of Canada.
The disputed money is part of the BCE-CTV Benefits that, in 2000, allocated $18 million ($13.2 million) to the production of 35 hours of long-form docs over seven years. Had the cash been redirected, explains Bob Culbert, CTV’s VP of docs, it would have left $9 million ($6.6 million) for 28 hours of factual fare, given expenditures to date. Says Crawley, ‘We believed CTV would get the best possible programming at $300,000 to $400,000 ($220,000 to $300,000) [per project], but the original idea was $400,000 to $600,000 ($445,000), and that’s a big difference.’