BCE Inc's purchase of the CTV television network has resulted in several proposed R&D and training initiatives that could pump much needed funds into the creation of new technologies and applications in the broadcast and Internet sectors. The $12.5-million windfall over five years is part of BCE's $230-million benefits package related to the $2.3-billion cash acquisition of CTV. CRTC regulations stipulate that 10% of the purchase price of regulated broadcast assets must be funneled into benefits to the sector.
Among the proposed benefits listed under Talent Development, Culture and Innovation, BCE is proposing four funds or initiatives to stimulate a wide range of research, including policy development, communications and programming, training for interactive television and new media and the creative use of advanced technology (see chart below).
The BCE Content Innovation Network would receive $5 million to further research at three institutes for advanced content education in film and television. It would help create a virtual training environment to allow the three facilities to work in real time.
The Canadian Media Research Consortium would exploit the expertise of several media scholars and institutions to establish a collaborative network dedicated to developing an integrated strategy for research, scholarly training and dissemination. It would receive $3.5 million to train experts and specialists who can track and analyze technological changes in media and study their commercial, industrial, social an cultural implications.
Ryerson Polytechnic would receive a $2.5-million grant for research chairs in convergence and the creative use of advanced technology. They would be located in the university's School of radio and Television Arts.
The British Columbia Institute of Technology would receive $1.5 million to train students in interactive television and new media.
BCE has already acquired all of CTV's outstanding common shares which are being held in trust pending a positive CRTC decision, which is all but certain. Public hearings begin September 18.
BCE RESEARCH & TRAINING BENEFITS ASSOCIATED WITH CTV ACQUISITION
BCE Content Innovation Network *
Canadian Media Research Consortium
BCE Chair in Convergence & Creative Use of Advanced Technology
(Ryerson Polytechnic University)
BCE New Media Centre of Excellence
(British Columbia Institute of Technology)
* Members: Canadian Film Centre, Banff New Media Institute, l'Institut national de l'image et du son