How Will Multi-Platform Access Centres Work?
Multi-platform access centres can be established within 30 minutes of 90% of Canadians for within the community TV budget that is currently spent by the country's cable companies on their own erstwhile 'community channels' ($116,000,000). We propose that this money be directed to a new Community-Access Media Fund to which communities will be able to apply to establish these centres.
CACTUS' goal would be to work with existing community organizations that already have some of the necessary skills and infrastructure, and which are interested either to expand their own roles to accommodate the multi-platform access production centre model, or to work with other community organizations to establish a new organization that could take on the multi-platform access mandate. For example:
- Canada's 7 over-the-air community TV license holders, one of which also broadcasts radio, and three of which also rebroadcast other television services in remote areas.
- Video and film co-ops and artist-run centres that already offer training and equipment access, but which lack distribution on mainstream TV.
- Community radio channels.
- Public libraries, many of which already offer Internet access in addition to their traditional role offering print materials.
Representatives of all these sectors have demonstrated interest and support for the CACTUS proposal, and are working with CACTUS to refine it.
CACTUS would assist these organizations in applying to the CRTC for community-access over-the-air television licenses (a new class CACTUS proposed in its written submission to 2009-661). Once licensed, CACTUS would then assist these new license-holders to apply to the Community-Access Media Fund to help them purchase the equipment, upgrade facilities, and hire staff they need to fulfill the multi-platform access model.
For existing over-the-air community license holders, this might mean adding radio or Internet capabilities. For video and film co-operatives, this might mean transmission equipment. For community radio channels, it might mean television production equipment. For public libraries, it might mean adding both television and radio production equipment.
For all organizations, CACTUS will offer expertise from media literacy and interactive digital technology experts to make sure that the multi-platform access centres that result incorporate the latest in both democratic and open-access approaches and the latest in interactive technologies. You can't have one without the other.
But what would it actually be like to use one of these "multi-platform access centres"?