Inuit broadcasters lobby Shaw to add Inuktut channel to satellite feed

“We are committed to working together,” says Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. CEO

The Inuit Broadcasting Corp, pictured here in Iqaluit, has partnered with Qiniq to launch a new streaming service for northern content. (Photo courtesy of IBC)

By Jane George

Nunavut Independent Television Network, the Inuit Broadcasting Corp. and Isuma say they are moving ahead with their efforts to increase the amount of Inuktut on cable television in Nunavut.

Their next step is to convince Shaw Communications Inc. to include IsumaTV on its satellite channel lineup, the three broadcasters said in a Sept. 29 news release.

They have contacted Shaw, with the backing of Arctic Co-operatives Ltd., whose CEO Rod Wilson said he is “very supportive” of the push to put IsumaTV on the air in Nunavut communities.

Wilson told Nunavut Independent TV’s executive director Lucy Tulugarjuk, IBC CEO Manitok Thompson, and Isuma’s Zacharias Kunuk that “we are committed to working together to identify solutions as we are excited about this opportunity.

“We look forward to collaborating on this project.”

The three Inuit broadcasters first approached ACL earlier this month with their plan to get more Inuktut programming onto cable television as soon as possible.

But because ACL chooses its digital cable channels from Shaw’s satellite selection, it will only be able to add IsumaTV to its 28-channel basic television cable lineup if the channel is already among the hundreds available on Shaw’s satellite feed.

IsumaTV could then be added to Shaw’s 40-channel package as well.

Writing on Sept. 28 to Shaw’s CEO Bradley Shaw, the three Inuit broadcasters urged his company to live up to commitments the broadcaster made during Shaw’s May 2017 Canadian Radio- television and Telecommunications Commission licence-renewal hearings “to encourage major broadcasters to turn to Indigenous producers for content.”

They asked Shaw to add IsumaTV’s Inuktut channel to the channels available on Shaw’s satellite selection in Nunavut.

The Shaw and ACL basic television packages show less than one per cent Inuktut content in Nunavut where 84 per cent of the residents are Inuit, they wrote.

Adding IsumaTV’s Inuktut programming would increase Inuktut from one per cent to five per cent, they said in their letter.

“Please inform us what Shaw requires to include lsumaTV Nunavut Independent Inuit Broadcasting in your satellite line-up of available channels as soon as possible,” they said.

With the letter, they attached numerous letters of support, as well as a 24-hour guide to a sample broadcast day.

The programming would include IBC’s Takuginai children’s series; shows by Kingulliit, Isuma, Arnait Video, Artcirq and Taqqut Productions; award-winning Inuktut movies like Atanarjuat The Fast Runner, Maliglutit (Searchers) and Tia & Piujuq; historic series like Nunavut (Our Land), Sivulita Angunasukpatangit (Hunting With My Ancestors) and IBC’s Amitturmiut; and Super Shamou.

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by Old trapper on

    Also get bell to add it on too.

  2. Posted by Call first on

    Probably should have called Arctic Cable first before calling them out publicly last week. Rookie mistake.

    • Posted by Gremlin on

      I can help with the next step: Shaw will tell IBC to go to the CRTC and apply there.
      It would be great if they could pull this off. Not holding my breath though. Hope they have time, cash and lawyers to fill out those CRTC forms.

      • Posted by Jane Shawm on

        Good News all around!
        Isuma/NITV/IBC are registered by CRTC Form 308 as an exempt discretionary television service with fewer than 200,000 subscribers, not needing a CRTC license. These companies are already registered as an Eligible Broadcaster by CMF.

  3. Posted by Kilabuk on

    Takuginai should be available during daytime, not 4 am! What child/ren are awake to watch Inuktitut that hour to learn?! Other than new born babies

  4. Posted by Bob on

    Local communities should have free tv options, not dependent on expensive and unreliable internet, phone or TV fee services. Like in the south. Free TV, as intended under the Broadcasting Act.

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