Thursday, March 12, 2015

CRTC Just Plain Wrong On New Canadian Content Regulations

Anybody I talk to about the state of Canadian content says the same thing.
Canadian TV seems to be in its death throes.
Over at CBC the budget has been slashed annually and there no longer is any consistent Canadian arts programming left.
CBC which once made its own TV ballets, operas, and music specials has dumped everything to stay on budgetary track.
CBC has no Canadian TV movies anymore and is now planning a significant reduction in documentaries for next season or so I'm told.
Its private competitors CTV, Global and Citytv will only make Canadian drama series they can sell to the U.S. market.
That means a series as fine as Global's Combat Hospital was immediately cancelled after the American broadcaster ABC declined to back a second season.
Citytv had one sole hour of quality drama in Murdoch Mysteries which the network dumped several seasons back because it was too expensive (CBC picked it up).
So I'm dumbfounded at the most recent decision of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission which agrees with me the quality of daytime Canadian TV is lousy.
The CRTCV says it is substantially reducing the numbers of daytime hours each day that a network must devote to Canadian shows --it will be down from 50 per cent to 35 per cent.
Remember this is the very CRTC that in 1985  wiped out its insistence that a certain portion of prime time Canadian content be devoted to scripted series.
In one year the number of scripted Canadian series dropped from a high of 11 to just two.
I'm insistent that quotas of all kinds should be abolished --they merely produce mediocre fare which fewer and fewer Canadians want to watch.
I'm convinced the only regulation the CRTC should insist on is a demand from all private networks that they spend as much on Canadian programming as they spend in L.A. snatching up all the U.S. series.
Last year that figure was almost $700 million --I would be surprised if the private networks spent a third as much on Canadian shows.
CBC is now saying the 55 per cent daytime insistence on Canadian content will be reduced to zero.
And I'm fearlessly predicting that come next September few if any Canadian shows will be left.
Instead a vast wasteland of U.S. imports from soap operas to reality junk will come flooding in.
Canadian TV has always been endangered.
We import all our soap operas, we import each and every low class American talk show, every cheapie reality outing..
Canadian TV may be past saving.
The CRTC tip toed around the idea of a "Netflix tax" --and it's Netflix and other streaming devices which are eating away at the ratings of traditional Canadian TV networks.
CRTC Chair Jean-Pierre Blais is banking on a desire by the networks to go for quality.
In a speech he mentioned all the great Canadian authors Canadian TV could call on for quality.
Excuse me but the first question a Canadian networks asks a producer these days is "Can this be sold to American TV?"
One of CBC's last TV movie efforts was a biopic of Don Cherry --there was one lone foreign sale --to Finnish TV.
Well, The CRTC took the Canadian networks at their words in 1985 and look what happened.
The other day I asked friends at a cocktail party which Canadian TV series they would consider "must see TV".
The only Canadian title I got was Orphan Black and it is made in Toronto but by BBC America.
Canadian TV is terminal, I humbly submit, and CRTC's latest attempt at resuscitation is going to be a bust.


Ottawa Dude said...

The stations should all pool their monies and make one canadian drama / comedy / whatever , and all show it to meet their requirements.

kay said...

Orphan Black was created by Canadians, it's produced by Canadians & is filmed in the GTA. The fact that BBC America pays for it, doesn't make it "not Canadian"

Unknown said...

The Canadian Content regs did next to nothing for real and good quality Canadian stories because - they only stipulate that productions have to have at least a specified percentage of Canadians working on them, which is why so many productions in Canada are American stories not Canadian stories, and there's so much of that there is very little left of funding for actual Canadian stories. The reason this happened, happens, is because Americans control and run the entire system. Canadians should have long ago protested this situation where most of our tax dollars went to funding American stories produced in Canada by Canadians qualifying as Canadian Content.