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Discretionary service

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A discretionary service is a Canadian specialty channel which, as defined by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, may be carried optionally by all subscription television providers. It replaces the previous category A, category B, category C (instead split into the categories of "mainstream sports" and "national news"), and premium classifications.[1][2][3]

Discretionary services may air programming from any of the CRTC's defined categories, although no more than 10% of programming per month may be devoted to live professional sports. Discretionary services may offer multiplex channels with CRTC permission.[4]


As part of "Let's Talk TV", a CRTC initiative to reform Canada's broadcasting industry, the Commission announced in 2015 that it would phase out its previous "genre protection" rules, which forbade services with Category B licenses from directly competing with those with Category A licenses (which carried more stringent obligations on their owners, and must be offered by all television providers). The Commission felt that these restrictions were "no longer needed to ensure programming diversity between services", as "[they] limited programming services to offering certain types of programming and precluded other services from offering that programming." As part of these changes, the CRTC began transitioning all pay and specialty services to standardized conditions of license.[5][6][4][7]

In November 2016, per a request by DHX Media, the previous premium television designation (which was designed for pay television services such as The Movie Network, and restricted the carriage of commercial advertising, but could consist of multiple feeds consistent with their scope of service) was also removed, merging them into the discretionary services category and allowing them to, if they choose, transition to advertising-supported formats.[4]

List of licensed discretionary services

Former Category A services




Former Category B services




Former Category C services


  • Sportsnet
    • Sportsnet East
    • Sportsnet Ontario
    • Sportsnet Pacific
    • Sportsnet West
  • Sportsnet One
    • Sportsnet Flames
    • Sportsnet Oilers
    • Sportsnet Vancouver Hockey
  • TSN
    • TSN1
    • TSN2
    • TSN3
    • TSN4
    • TSN5



Former exempted services

Former premium services

Exempted discretionary services

Services with less than 200,000 subscribers that would otherwise meet the definition of a discretionary service, and services which air 90% of their programming in a language other than English, French, or those of Canadian aboriginal peoples, are exempted from formal licensing by the CRTC.[8][9]




  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c "Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-436". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
  5. ^ "Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-86: Let's Talk TV - The way forward - Creating compelling and diverse Canadian programming". CRTC. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-96 - Let's Talk TV - A World of Choice - A roadmap to maximize choice for TV viewers and to foster a healthy, dynamic TV market". CRTC.
  7. ^ Maloney, Val. "CRTC to allow ads on pay-TV channels". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Broadcasting Order CRTC 2012-689: New exemption order respecting certain programming undertakings that would otherwise be eligible to be operated as Category B services, and amendments to the Exemption order respecting certain third-language television undertakings". CRTC. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Exemption order respecting discretionary television programming undertakings serving fewer than 200,000 subscribers". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Retrieved 2018-01-23.

See also

This page was last edited on 12 May 2020, at 17:59
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