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Rogers and Vice team for Canadian studio and content

rogers

From a media release:

After 20 years of traversing the globe to create the gold standard in print, photojournalism and video, VICE Media will return home to Canada to team up with Rogers and establish a state-of-the-art multimedia production studio. The new Toronto studio, which will operate under VICE’s creative direction, will be dedicated to producing the very best Canadian content for mobiles, tablets, computers and TV screens and will be exported around the world.

The VICE Canada Studio will address the dramatic shift in Canada’s media landscape, as young people increasingly consume news and entertainment from their mobile and digital devices (nearly 70 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds receive news and entertainment from their mobiles, tablets or a computer, versus only 30 per cent of 40-year-olds and over).

Shane Smith, Founder, VICE Media, said: “It was 20 years ago, deep down in the port of Old Montreal that we set out to try and make a magazine that didn’t suck. This year we return to the homeland, all our hard lessons learned, to build from scratch a completely horizontally and vertically integrated ultra-modern media entity. Essentially we are building a content creation hub that will generate premium video for a cutting edge media company that will program – simultaneously – the holy trinity of convergence; mobile, online, and TV.”

VICE Canada properties will form part of a $100 million joint venture between Rogers and VICE Media that includes:

  • The VICE Canada Studio, a multimedia, state-of-the-art production facility based in Toronto, will:
    • Produce Canadian-focused content including news, drama, documentaries and programming covering food, sports, fashion, tech, and more, for all screens;
    • Partner and collaborate with Canada’s best young directors, producers, journalists, editors and filmmakers, giving them the tools and guidance to create the next wave of great content coming out of Canada;
    • Include an incubator featuring programming and workshops intended to develop and foster students and burgeoning journalists across Canada.
  • The VICE TV Network, a dedicated Canadian TV channel distributed throughout Canada;
  • Mobile content, including exclusives and adapted content;
  • VICE’s network of Canadian digital properties, featuring more Canadian content.

The VICE Canada Studio will make a range of content including:

  • Daily mobile blasts of exciting Canadian-made news and information including exclusives for Rogers and Fido customers;
  • VICE TV Formats, a brand new slate of television formats developed, produced and made with new Canadian talent to air on the VICE TV Network;
  • VICE Plus, mobile adaptations of VICE’s new and best-known franchises, including the environmental show TOXIC; and F*CK THAT’S DELICIOUS starring the rapper and former chef Action Bronson, as well as pilots for new VICE shows.

VICE Studio, VICE Mobile, and VICE PLUS will launch in Canada in 2015.

TiVo lands on Cogeco

cogeco

From a media release:

The next evolution in TV entertainment has landed. TiVo, the leader in advanced television services, is now available in Canada from Cogeco Cable Canada. In Ontario markets where it operates, Cogeco Cable Canada will now offer Cogeco TiVo Service, the ultimate personalized home entertainment experience.

TiVo’s advanced, fully integrated search function mines through live TV, recorded, on-demand and Over-the-top (OTT) content, including Netflix, to show users what programs are available to watch. It is the only operator platform to offer full Netflix integration. Users with a Netflix subscription access Netflix content through the TiVo platform with one simple unified search, without requiring any additional external devices. TiVo also helps users discover new content by providing personalized recommendations. The platform automatically records content that it predicts might be of interest to the user.

Cogeco TiVo Service also extends out of home, with a Cogeco TV app, available on supported iOS devices, customers can search, browse and schedule recordings from anywhere. Additionally, users can download DVR recordings to their iOS mobile devices running the Cogeco TV app to watch from anywhere, without the need for a WiFi access. An app for Android is expected to follow in April 2015.

The Cogeco TiVo Service will be available starting November 3, 2014 for Ontario residents in Cogeco Cable Canada markets. The service will be available in Quebec Cogeco Cable Canada markets in spring 2015 after the platform interface, language and recommendations algorithm is customized for a Quebec audience.

Link: Orphan Black and Call Me Fitz top DGC winners

From a media release:

The Directors Guild of Canada handed out 19 awards tonight honouring the best work created by Members this past year in a star-studded, elegant event. Two special career acknowledgments were also handed out during the evening.

Arisa Cox hosted the Awards Gala which was held at The Carlu in Toronto.  Broadway, film and television star Eric McCormack returned to the stage with a dazzling opening number and comedian Sean Cullen closed the show with a comedic performance. Continue reading. 

Netflix_Web_Logo

Maybe, just maybe, Netflix isn’t the devil?

The Canadian TV industry seemed to discover the Internet in 2010.

In 2009 the CRTC held a hearing, as they like to do, where Canadian broadcasters explained there was no need to regulate the online space because streaming was complementary to broadcast, not competitive, and any broadcaster worth its salt would be able to navigate it without regulation.

In 2011 the CRTC held a hearing where Canadian broadcasters said it was imperative that the CRTC regulate the online space (the CRTC declined, delaying a decision until 2014 as scheduled).

I’ll give you one guess when Netflix entered Canada. Yup: 2010.

They had introduced online streaming in 2007 in other jurisdictions, but apparently the Canadian TV industry was caught unaware. Yet you didn’t need a crystal ball in 2009 to see where television was headed: you needed to read a newspaper. From a couple of years before. The 2007-08 Writers Guild of America strike, for example, was driven partly by new media revenues.

Audiences and consumers were promised a re-imagining of the broadcast system with the 2014 hearing, but so far we’ve gotten more “the sky is falling” pronouncements from the usual suspects in their Let’s Talk TV presentations, breeding fear based on their own self-interest.

It remains to be seen what the CRTC will do in the aftermath of this year’s hearing, which saw Netflix decline to provide the CRTC some requested information, dismiss the CRTC’s authority over the US-based company, and have their presentation stricken from the record. That doesn’t bode well for the CRTC being visionaries in this area any more than the broadcasters were in 2009.

And then yesterday, Rogers announced that they  are partnering with Netflix on a new series, which they call the first of its kind for the creation of a new, original series. Between is a six-episode “survivalist thriller series” which will air in Canada on City and Rogers’ new online streaming service Shomi, and on Netflix outside of Canada. A year after the initial premiere, it will be available on Netflix Canada as well.

Trailer Park Boys season 8 was actually the first Netflix original series to come from Canada, in the same vein as Arrested Development and The Killing which continued on Netflix but were not developed by them. With Between, Netflix is a partner with the independent producers and Rogers.

The Writers Guild of Canada for one is not cheering the deal, generating some further not-cheering from some who work in the industry online — though the WGC state they were simply asking a question rather than expressing opposition:


The Canadian Media Fund clarified that dollars were for development. And Rogers and Don Carmody Productions, not Netflix, got those dollars, which would appear to be no different from any other co-production or co-venture or pre-sale, staples of the Canadian TV industry.

The Rogers/Netflix partnership is unusual in that Shomi is technically Netflix’s competition (though Netflix would probably scoff at that characterization right now, and Rogers is again talking complementary, not competition.). It’s possible the distributor Elevation Pictures will be able to sell only broadcast, not online, rights in the territories where Netflix operates.

Other than that, I don’t see much difference between a Flashpoint or Murdoch Mysteries or Orphan Black and, as the producers characterize it, this pre-sale that helped complete the financing before Rogers bought in.

Besides the fact that the foreign partner is online only, the deal is not unusual for Canada. And it’s not unusual for Netflix. Happy Valley, a terrific BBC series, was similarly financed and labelled a Netflix Original outside the UK. Norwegian series Lilyhammer was the first program to be offered on the streaming service using that model two and a half years ago.

Is it so inconceivable that a Canadian show in development — one that has Michael McGowan. Jon Cassar and Don Carmody attached — could interest a company who claims to be, and appears to be, country agnostic in finding original content? Why are some assuming that a foreign streaming service would have no interest in Canadian content unless that foreign company were trying to avoid regulation?

And why would there be any outcry over the tax money involved, when other foreign partners such as CBS, UKTV or BBC America aren’t subject to the same dismay?

Rogers and Between’s producers, at least, are willing to leverage the money and reach of Netflix for good, not evil. Yet the insinuation in some quarters has been that this is not a deal to celebrate, because Netflix.

The television industry isn’t just changing; it has changed. Partnering with established online services such as Netflix, Amazon and Google could be as much the future of our industry as other co-productions, co-ventures and pre-sales. But if we can’t imagine the future, let’s at least try to catch up to the present, Canada.

Link: Paul Gross honoured by Canadian Screen Awards

From The Globe and Mail:

Actor Paul Gross, documentary filmmaker Ric Esther Bienstock and TSN personality Michael Landsberg are among six honourees set to be recognized at next year’s Canadian Screen Awards.

“Due South” and “Slings & Arrows” star Gross will receive the Earle Grey Award, given to an actor or actress for a body of work in Canadian TV.

“Rookie Blue” producer Tassie Cameron will receive the Margaret Collier Award for a written body of work in TV, GlassBOX founder Jeffrey Elliott will claim the Digital Media Trailblazing Award and Landsberg will be honoured for his humanitarian work. Continue reading.