Although Canada has two official languages (English and French), in a multicultural country, hearing a variety of languages spoken is a given. A new television venture plans to reflect this linguistic diversity with a multicultural television channel that will, with innovative technology, allow Canadians of all communities and backgrounds to access programming content in the language of their choice, simultaneously.
Called Voices TV, the channel, an initiative of the Ethnic Channels Group Ltd (ECG), will focus on regional, national and international news, information, current affairs and entertainment programming aimed at all Canadians irrespective of their cultural and linguistic background.
“A key element of our programming strategy for Voices TV is that we will be offering programming in multiple languages simultaneously throughout the broadcast day,” says Slava Levin, CEO of ECG. “We will begin by offering this programming in 10 different languages in the first year of operation using the multiple language feeds. We will increase the number of language feeds to 15 in the second year, 20 in the third year and to 25 by the fourth year of operation.”
TV for a multilingual demographic
Hari Srinivas, president, ECG, adds: “The idea is to cater to the needs of the diverse growing population in the country in a manner that most suits their wants and needs. Currently, over 20 per cent of the Canadian population speaks a third language. This number is increasing by 15 per cent every five years.
“What we are essentially trying to do is eradicate language as a barrier when it comes to access to programming. Through the use of this state-of-the-art technology, a Chinese family will be able to access Arabic programming in Chinese. As a result, the possibilities for cultural inclusion and integration truly become endless.”
The channel will transmit and dub crucial news, information, current affairs and programming to meet the demands of Canada’s population diversity, while operating and broadcasting a minimum of three distinct regional programming feeds to serve audiences in Eastern, Central and Western Canada.
Welcome to Canada TV show
“We will cover news stories and issues that are important to Canada’s multicultural communities across the country from a Canadian perspective. As our give back to the communities we serve, we also plan to produce and broadcast a program entitled Welcome to Canada that will assist new Canadians with their integration into Canadian society and Canadian life. We’re really excited about that!” adds Levin
Voices TV is currently one of the eight applicants to the CRTC contending a national, multilingual multi-ethnic television service offering news and information programming, which, if licensed, would receive mandatory distribution on the basic service.