Canadian Government Green Lights Porn Cable Channel

Canadian Government Green Lights Porn Cable Channel
Tom Hymes
EDMONTON — In a move that could be perceived as making the government a de facto partner in the production of adult entertainment, Canada has issued a license to an Alberta-based producer of amateur content to develop a pay-TV porn channel. One of the stipulations for getting the license was that a percentage of the content must be produced in Canada.

Canadian producer Real Productions, which has offices in Alberta and Las Vegas, filed an application for the license in October 2007. According to the company website, the amateur content-focused studio also shoots on location in more than 30 cities throughout North America, and produces adult content for Starz, Playboy TV and HBO, among others.

The digital channel, which is called Northern Peaks, was granted a license Wednesday by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), but has yet to find a cable or satellite service to broadcast its service.

While adult fare is already available in Canada on cable and satellite networks, the granting of the Real Productions license is significant in that it is the highest Canadian content level ever for an adult channel, according to the CRTC. In this case, while 15 percent of the content needed to be Canadian in order to appease regulators, the company opted to make 50 percent of the content exclusively Canadian.

"There seems to be quite a market for Canadian adult content right now and of course there isn't a lot of supply," Real Productions' Shaun Donnelly said, adding that he is confident that a deal with a carrier will be in place by next year. He said several companies are currently reviewing the Northern peaks business plan, but declined to name them.

Other stipulations required by the government include a requirement that the channel must spend a minimum of 25 percent of its subscriber revenues on Canadian programming, including at least $1 million in its first broadcast year. Also, all programs must be close-captioned, and cable and satellite networks that carry the channel must offer it as an opt-in product and cannot bundle it so that the service so that subscribers have to purchase Northern Peaks in order to get other channels.

Additionally, the license restricts Northern Peaks programming to certain genres, including drama and comedy, long-form documentary, miniseries, theatrical feature films, game shows and human-interest programming. Neither will it carry any high-definition programming.

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