Specialty channels were created because, at one point, people realized that there was growing interest for focused programming, whether for children's shows, documentaries, music programs, etc. Some players then took the risk of entering that field, but not conventional broadcasters. They did not want to enter that sector; they said that it did not make sense, that there was no future there and that it just could not work. In most cases, it was entrepreneurs and new broadcasters who took the risk of starting specialty channels. They did so, and the CRTC did want to make sure that the new sector would not put an end to conventional television. The commission therefore decided that specialty channels would only have access to national, not local, advertising. That exclusive arrangement was to protect conventional television.
The industry was launched and is thriving. People enjoy what they see; viewers are tuning in. However, we do not have the same market share as the conventional broadcasters. TVA, in Montreal, attracts close to 30% of the market, whereas our specialty channels reach about 1%, 2% or 3%.