Everything about Industry News, eh?

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

I’m talking OTT and SVOD in Canada here so I’m not going to finish the quote.  I played around with Shomi during the free 30 day trial that I was entitled to as a Rogers subscriber. Then Bell Media was nice enough to give me a 30 day guest pass to the mobile version of CraveTV (since I’m not a Bell subscriber that’s all I could get). So I’ve played around a little, to the extent possible.

Here’s my problem. What I would really like to have is impossible either because of outdated business models, Canadian broadcast regulation or a lack of Canadian OTT regulation. I’m stuck.

I would like to have a service that flows seamlessly between my television and my iPad (my kid would also like it to work on her shiny new Nexus phone) so that I could switch platforms in mid-episode or at least keep track of which episode I’m on in mid-binge. This is possible with Netflix but not possible with Shomi and CraveTV because their OTT platforms (the tablet, web and phone platforms) and SVOD (Subscription VOD on your TV) are licensed separately (OTT being exempt from regulation and SVOD being fully regulated).

I would like a Canadian service that supports Canadian programming on all of its platforms. Shomi and CraveTV have to make a contribution to Canadian programming and provide a quota on their SVOD platforms according to VOD regulation, but have no such obligation for their OTT platforms. Netflix has no requirement at all.

I would like to watch the Golden Globes and know that I have access to the cool new shows like “Transparent” (Shomi quickly announced during the awards that they will be carrying it, it is on OTT service Amazon Studios in the U.S.) and “House of Cards” (on Netflix) without having to pay separate OTT subscriptions for each one. Exclusivity is a model that only frustrates the consumer in the Internet world.

I would like to be able to be a Rogers cable, internet and wireless subscriber (well, maybe not but I am anyway) and subscribe to CraveTV. CraveTV is only available to Bell, Telus and a few smaller BDUs and is unlikely to be available to subscribers of their competition. While Shomi and CraveTV are very similar in how they work, and both have lovely interfaces on the mobile platforms (though both were buggy on their web platforms), I would like to have the option to subscribe to CraveTV if I want to and not be locked in to Shomi because of my cable provider.

So, as a Canadian and a lover of television, CRTC regulation and the BDU business models are not working for me right now.

Cineflix Rights acquires Yap Films’ Battle Factory


From a media release:

Cineflix Rights, one of the UK’s leading independent television distributors, has acquired new content from Canadian producer Yap Films and South African producer Hive Content, as it heads to the Realscreen Summit 2015 looking to make more acquisition deals with producers.

Cineflix Rights has added to its growing “Factory” franchise with Battle Factory (14×30’, Yap Films). The series takes viewers into the hidden world of military and frontline gear factories all over the world and reveals how they are manufactured.

Battle Factory will sit alongside the highly successful brands Food Factory , Food Factory USA , and latest title Home Factory in the Cineflix Rights’ catalogue.

Food, Booze & Tattoos (13×30’, Hive Content) follows Brett Rogers as he travels across South Africa to track down the most mouth-watering food establishments, the coolest microbreweries, and the edgiest tattoo parlours; as well as showcasing South Africa’s unique and diverse contemporary cultures.

WGC reaches tentative agreement with Canadian producers

WGC logo

From a media release:

The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) has reached a tentative agreement with the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) and the Association Québécoise de la Production Médiatique (AQPM) on a new Independent Production Agreement (IPA) for Canadian screenwriters.

Jill Golick, WGC president, says, “This proposed agreement makes forward-thinking changes that include expanding our jurisdiction and puts Canadian screenwriters in a better position in our evolving industry.”

After the deal has been presented to WGC members for ratification further details will be available. Once ratified by WGC members, the CMPA board and the general assembly of the AQPM, the new collective agreement will set the minimum terms of engagement until the end of 2017.

Facet4 Media makes production in Canada for Canada

From a media release:

FACET4 Media is excited to announce its development slate of original television series to be produced in Canada for the Canadian and international marketplace. A home-grown business founded and steered by Stephen Greenberg of the Canadian entertainment family with a legacy of excellence, FACET4 has developed and acquired concepts in both the reality and dramatic arenas.

Based in Montreal with offices in Toronto, FACET4 Media is deep in the development process on projects including BUSINESS BOMBSHELLS: PALM SPRINGS, THE ONLY WAY TO TRAVEL, NO SILLY QUESTIONS, THE FOOD DIARIES, DRINK DETECTIVES, COMBAT CHALLENGE, HOW NEW ORLEANS GOT ITS GROOVE BACK, and scripted series ODD MAN RUSH.

With a television distribution deal and servicing arrangement already in place with Fox/Incendo, Canada’s largest television distribution company, FACET4 in poised to meet the demands of clients looking to make a big splash in the Canadian industry. Fox/Incendo will handle delivery, sales and back office support for all content produced and represented by FACET4 Media.

In Development at FACET4 Media:

BUSINESS BOMBSHELLS: PALM SPRINGS – 13 x 30’ Lifestyle Docu-Series
Business Bombshells: Palm Springs is an exciting new lifestyle docu-series based on the lives of five dynamic, feisty, self-made Palm Springs millionaires. This group of highly successful, beautiful, tough women have made it to the top of the business world, and Palm Springs society, through hard work, without leaning on men. Queen Bee Graison Stemper will introduce you to her friends behind the elite social setting of Palm Springs where these women have battled the storms and have come out on top of their fields. The Bombshells will welcome you into their lives, and share both their success and the drama it took to get there. This series will give you an in-depth look into worlds generally reserved for men where these women have risen, stumbled, and ultimately succeeded, in their quest for success.

THE ONLY WAY TO TRAVEL – 13 x 30’ Formatted Competitive Travel Series
What’s the best way to experience new places? In the five star luxury of sumptuous hotel rooms, Michelin starred restaurants and chauffeur driven limos? Or by taking a back to basics approach with budget hostel accommodation, street food and local transport? Best friends, Tommy and Randal, will be joined by a wildcard traveller who will judge each itinerary (high end vs. backpacker) on five criteria, and there will be an ultimate winner each episode. Join Tommy and Randall as they compete to see who can entice an unsuspecting stranger for bragging rights as to which way is The Only Way to Travel!

NO SILLY QUESTIONS – 13 x 30’ Family Oriented Interactive Game Show
Kids have a million questions and parents don’t always have the right answers. That’s where The NSQ Network comes in! No Silly Questions is a weekly half hour TV show that allows children of all ages (including a few parents) the opportunity to video record and upload any questions that come to mind and have it answered on the show!

THE FOOD DIARIES – 13 x 30’ Culinary Adventure Docu-Series
The Food Diaries is not your average food show. This food series will showcase a culinary travelogue where you’ll feast your eyes on the gorgeous scenery of each country visited, take in the sights and smells of local producers and learn about their artisan food and pick up great tips. Then watch as a top American chef reinvigorates each old world dish by spicing it up with some new world culinary artistry.

DRINK DETECTIVES – 13×30’ Docu-Series
In the new adventure docu-series Drink Detectives, take a trip to discover the secrets of the hidden world of booze. Our two genuinely colourful explorers, master sommelier John Szabo and rough-edged, irreverent and grouchy international wine expert Bill Zacharkiw, are armed with an authentic depth of knowledge and fuelled by an unquenchable thirst for more. They will travel the globe to track down the origins of legendary drinks they’ve heard about. Their aim is a common one, but their approach may not be. Expect sparks and even fireworks as they negotiate the rapids and bends that lie between them and the source of their quest.

COMBAT CHALLENGE – 13X30’ Competitive Paintball Series
Can a team of amateur paintball players be trained to become top-notch competitors on the playing field and challenge some of the best paintball players in the world? Two teams of amateur paintball players, led by one of our two professional players Wolf and Lady Hawk, go head-to-head each episode in an epic three-part paintball battle. Each episode will produce a winning team of amateurs who will not only win the newest paintball swag but will qualify for the semi-final. The last show of the season will feature the best teams competing in the World Cup of Paintball, in Orlando, Florida.

HOW NOLA GOT IT’S GROOVE BACK – 10 x 30 Cultural Docu-Series
Jazz is America’s music. And much of its evolution stems from the city of New Orleans. When Katrina hit, a huge number of New Orleans’ population was displaced. Among those people were her musicians, an important and vital part of New Orleans and American culture. This is a series about their journey, their city and most importantly their music and how it’s been influenced by the devastation of KatrinaWe will delve into the lives and experiences of various musicians and hear their story of why and how they left behind their beloved city and what drew them back home.

ODD MAN RUSH – 13 x 30’ Scripted Dramedy Series
Odd Man Rush gives us a look at professional sports like we’ve never seen them before. At the heart of our show and experiencing it all for the first time is Chris Rush. After witnessing his humbling fall from grace in the pilot’s opening minutes, our hero heads to a world of hockey unknown to him: The Coastal Hockey League.

FACET4 Media will be participating in The 2015 Realscreen Summit; the world’s foremost conference and market for the non-fiction and unscripted content industry.

Global’s got it (unless “it” is a Canadian show)

Remedy is coming March 23. Rookie Blue should be airing in the summer.

It’s not that Global has no original scripted series, it’s that you can’t tell by looking at the conventional television season. We went through two rounds – fall and midseason– of Global trumpeting their upcoming primetime seasons of only US programming.

Yesterday’s release was the “P.S. We’re airing a Canadian series now that Sleepy Hollow is out of the way.” It’s not fall, midseason or summer — it’s what’s known in the US as a midseason replacement, or in Canada the year-round “slide-Canadian-programs-in-when-we-don’t-have-an-American-show-to-fill-the-timeslot” season.

Remedy will likely do very well there, just as Rookie Blue does well in the summer. But when you have one original scripted series air date announced so far since last summer, your Canadian programming starts looking a little … thin.

It’s true that fall is a difficult season for Canadian productions. Overwhelmed by marketing from the US networks, a homegrown show can find it hard to be seen amid the commotion.

But January is usually a good bet. It’s still the thick of the TV season but with less competition for eyeballs. CBC, for example, just launched Schitt’s Creek and The Book of Negroes to stellar ratings. Global had great success with Bomb Girls a few Januaries ago. This January? Global’s got nothing.

Besides defining the brand of a network apart from “a mishmash of ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS and The CW” – besides being a requirement of a broadcast license — original content is becoming even more crucial for networks who are trying to, say, convince people that their streaming service is better than the other streaming services.

In the meantime, convincing an audience that your original content is bold and exciting becomes more difficult if you’re too timid to put it on the air when most people are watching.