In the news: Canadian Television Fund defended

From John Doyle of the Globe and Mail, a critique of the cable companies reneging on their obligations to the CTF. Also includes information on the season finale of Intelligence and a documentary by Little Mosque on the Prairie creator Zarqa Nawaz called Me and the Mosque:

  • Cable barbarians at the gate
    “Cable companies in Canada exist in a privileged, protected position that allows them make vast amounts of money, and now some want to renege on their regulatory responsibility and thus crush Canadian-made TV. A vital part of our culture — the telling of Canadian stories to Canadians, including Canadian children — should not exist at the whim of greed-driven, price-gouging cable companies. Everybody loathes cable companies. And nobody with an ounce of common sense or a grasp of fairness supports them on this issue.”
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Diane Wild

Diane is the founder of TV, eh? She loves books, movies, TV, science, space, traveling, theatre, art, cats, and drinking multiple beverages at the same time.
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7 thoughts on “In the news: Canadian Television Fund defended”

  1. Although Canadian TV is in need of a creative jolt, I’d hate to see it disappear to greed filled interest and have our TV landscape flooded even more than it is now with American produced material.

  2. Call the cable companies bluff … let them renege … but let them compete against American providers instead of reselling.

    Why do es Canadian cable need to exist if it just rebroadcasts American TV? It’s just infrastructure and Americans (or Brits or Indians) can broadcast Canadian content more cheaply than these bloated monopolies can.

    Hearing cable companies complain about CBC is truly laughable: it’s like the pot calling the cool clear spring of water errrm black.
    I pay about 100$ a year in taxes to CBC and 1000$ to cable TV operators and I know which one of them I respect more.

  3. Right on. I’m watching Canadian TV right now – yeah it’s on CBC because not one cable operator EVER broadcasts Canadian shows in the evening/primetime hours. The cablecos are distributors not creative producers and hear this:


    I don’t care if the CTF is a “tax” – good I say. Cablecos deserve to be TAXED and the money given to Canadian creative people who produce shows that employ Canadian actors etc. If the CBC is the only network that broadcasts them well that’s because they are supposed to do thta. Nothing stopping cablecos from doing the same thing except that they don’t actually seem to realize that Canada is a different country. I’m fluent in French too and the same thing happens there: cablecos mostly just dub and rebroadcast American shows – even when they have an audience of 6 million people speak french and want to watch TV MADE IN THIS COUNTRY. I bet if they were all bought by Amercican companies (Bill Gates has lots of cable assets) the Americans would probably have fewer problems kicking money in to the fund than these crybabies.

  4. “A vital part of our culture — the telling of Canadian stories to Canadians, including Canadian children — should not exist at the whim of greed-driven, price-gouging cable companies.”

    I agree 100% –150%.

    But then I get confused. Because in making the agreement with the Cable companies that we did back in 1993 we did exactly that. We put the telling of Canadian stories in to the hands of greed driven Cable companies. Or wait, are we saying that they weren’t greed-driven price-gougers back then? Were we too happy to take their money to think carefully about what sort of trust we were placing in them? And now when they don’t believe they are getting an adequate return on their investment (because really where is the predicted …”real difference on their [Canadian] TV screens”?) and they want to pull out, we yell foul and say “Cable is obliged to contribute a portion of revenues to the CTF.” I thought they basically volunteered back in’93. What are they getting for their money?

    “To cite just one example, Da Vinci’s Inquest…” more’s the pitty that only one example was cited. It makes me wonder, are there REALLY anymore we can seriously talk about as programs that have become a “world-class show exported to dozens of countries and now both critically praised and extremely popular in syndication in the U.S. market”?

    It’s been 13 years since the Cable comapanies stepped forward with money. I personally haven’t seen a lot of evidence that the Canadian TV industry has made any dramatic difference to the content on my TV screen. I guess, like the Cable companies I’m wondering about What exactly it is they’rerdoing with all that money if we can shout out about one program good enough to sell outside our own borders…

  5. What the cable companies are complaining about may very well be legitimate – they want more accountability in the way the fund is managed. How they’re going about it, and why, is what’s suspect.

    We took their money in exchange for deregulating the industry and letting them gouge us even more. That’s what they “volunteered” for and “stepped forward” with. It’s a condition of their license. It’s not something they do or did out of the goodness of their hearts.

    That money goes to the CTF which then gives it to TV producers, who are the ones we’ve entrusted our stories to, not the cable companies. There was no trust involved with the cable companies other than that they would comply with the requirement of their licenses. The return on their investment in Canadian programming is the ability to sell us mostly programming we could get from an American company at lower cost and more choice, if we were to stop protecting them from an open market. But for some reason their defenders value protecting the cable industry’s interests far more than they value protecting the audience’s or the domestic industry’s. If you vote to scrap the Canadian industry, doesn’t that at least make you wonder what you’re paying Shaw for, when Comcast might be a better deal for the shows you want to watch?

    Doyle didn’t get into a list this time, because how many of our shows Americans have access to isn’t the point – the amount of Canadian shows Canadians have access to is the point. But other recent shows that have succeeded in oversees syndication include Degrassi, Corner Gas, Cold Squad, Stone Undercover, Whistler, Falcon Beach.

    What the producers are doing with “all that money” is giving us those shows, and shows like Trailer Park Boys Little Mosque on the Prairie, Intelligence, The Rick Mercer Report, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Instant Star, Odd Job Jack, Robson Arms, Regenesis,, This is Emily Yeung, Grossology … etc. etc. Name a Canadian show and it’s probably partly funded by the CTF. You want a list, check out the sidebar or the links on this site.

    The Canadian Television Fund is one small part of the picture about how much Canadian content ends up on our television screens, or the quality of that content. If you haven’t seen a difference, you can’t lay all that at the feet of the CTF. Look around at the other funding options. Look into the CRTC regulation changes from 1999. Look into broadcasters’ handling of their Canadian programming, including scheduling and promotion.

  6. Hey Diane, thanks for your thoughtful and extensive response. I probaby shouldn’t really be commenting on the situation at all; I’m really not conversant enough to have much that is meaningful to say. At least by sticking my neck out I’m learing things!

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