Thank you, Mr. Chair, members of the committee. My name is Pierre-Louis Smith, and I am the vice-president, policy and chief regulatory officer at the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. With me is Tara Rajan, who is the CAB vice-president, research and policy.
The CAB is the voice of Canada's private television, radio, and pay and specialty services of all sizes, in all regions, and all languages spoken in Canada. In total, we represent over 600 stations and services, some of which have appeared before you in these hearings.
You have heard many points of view throughout these hearings. Today, our main objective is to present you with a set of facts about Canadian private television, along with solutions—some familiar to you and some less so—to address the pressure on local television.
CAB members, both in the radio and television sectors, are proud to have established strong relationships with their audiences and communities. Each day, your constituents benefit from the services provided by a number of our members. From news to weather, sports, entertainment and information services, broadcasters unite Canadians by showing them the stories that have a special significance to Canadians.
Broadcasters employ some 23,000 Canadians in creative, highly-skilled jobs. These people are professionals who strive for excellence. CAB members are pleased to see your committee take an interest in local television and the broadcasting industry as a whole. The facts show that the broadcasting sector, both public and private, has been affected by the fragmentation of audiences, the decline in advertising revenues and increased costs. Broadcasters have a number of recommendations to deal with the situation.
Let us first look at the statistics.
I will now give the floor to Ms. Rajan.