Tag Archives: Industry News

The Government of Canada wants to ensure the right balance of investment in content and in the ability to compete

From a media release:

The Governor in Council, on the advice of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, with support of Cabinet, referred back for reconsideration and hearing the Broadcasting Decisions CRTC 2017-143 to 2017-147 (renewing licenses for television services of major French-language ownership groups) and CRTC 2017-148 to 2017-151 (renewing licenses for television services of major English-language ownership groups) of May 15, 2017.

“Canadian broadcasters and creators are at the centre of the broadcasting system, and at a time when our competitive advantage rests on creativity, they must be positioned to succeed.

The Government of Canada recognizes the significant investments Canadian broadcasters make in Canadian content. At the same time, the entire industry is in transition and the next few years will be critical to establishing the conditions for Canadians to be able to compete with the best in the world.

During this period of transition across the industry, original Canadian content and a dynamic creative sector are vital to the sector’s competitiveness, and its contribution to the Canadian economy.

We are asking the CRTC to reconsider these decisions in order to ensure that we achieve the right balance of investment in content and in the ability to compete.

In referring back these decisions, the Government wishes to affirm its support for great Canadian dramas, comedies, animation, films, documentaries — and other programs of national interest — that reflect our country and its diversity. It also recognizes the importance of original French-language content and support for the creators of music programming, short films and short-form documentaries.

As we look to the future of Canadian content, we must be bold. That’s why, this fall, I will present a vision that supports our cultural industries through this transformation and will bring us in line with the changing digital environment.”


Link: Canada’s homegrown TV content needs to come home

From Barry Avrich of The Globe and Mail:

Link: Canada’s homegrown TV content needs to come home
As someone who has been producing film and television for 30 years, I, like many in the industry, am beyond anxious to see our Canadian Heritage Minister’s imminent recommendation on how best to reboot our entertainment and media industries. Mélanie Joly, our Oxford-educated minister, took office in 2015 urging patience and telling journalists that, unlike Donald Trump, she will need 700 days to be fairly judged on the merits of her close to $2-billion gamble. But her work is taking longer than negotiating the Yalta Conference. Continue reading.



Canadian creators and advertisers, Unifor, the National Football League and Bell renew their appeal to the CRTC to rescind its Super Bowl simsub ban

From a media release:

The National Football League (NFL), national union Unifor, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists(ACTRA), the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and the Canadian Media Directors’ Council (CMDC) today reaffirmed their support of Bell’s call for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to suspend its simultaneous substitution ban for Super Bowl LII in 2018 and permanently rescind the ban going forward.

“There are no benefits to Canadians when our broadcast regulator favours US advertising, but there have been significant negative economic and cultural impacts in our country resulting directly from the CRTC’s decision,” said Mirko Bibic, Bell’s Chief Legal & Regulatory Officer and Executive VP, Corporate Development. “The damage is being felt across the Canadian creative, cultural and broadcasting communities, including drastic reductions in Super Bowl audiences and revenues at CTV. The reality of the impact is reflected in calls from a wide spectrum of Canadian organizations and the NFL itself to lift the simsub ban.”

For decades, multiple Canadian broadcasters have supported cultural development, domestic economic growth, and employment through simultaneous substitution, or simsub, which offers Canadian rather than American advertising in US television network programming viewed by Canadians, like the Super Bowl. While the Super Bowl’s US commercials are readily available to Canadians online in advance of the game, simsub enables them to see television advertising from Canadian companies about products and services they can actually buy here, and the advertising revenue helps fuel domestic creative production and talent development.

In 2015, however, the CRTC abruptly banned simsub only for the Super Bowl, the single biggest broadcast event of the year, effective with Super Bowl LI in 2017. As a result, Bell Media networks lost 40% of their Super Bowl audience while advertising revenues dropped $11 million. The harm created by the simsub ban is further amplified at a time when creators and broadcasters are struggling to adjust their business models to ensure a viable Canadian broadcasting system in the face of rapid competitive and technological change.

Now, new independent research confirms the broader impact on creators, broadcasters and Canadian businesses after just a single year of the CRTC’s Super Bowl simsub ban. Conducted by Communic@tions Management Inc., the research reveals the ban has cost the overall Canadian economy approximately $158 million. It found that Canadian businesses have been driven to spend their advertising dollars with US border television stations in an attempt to reach Canadian viewers, transferring that revenue from Canada to the US economy while at the same time undermining longstanding government tax policy. Based on revenue impacts, the Canadian creative community has been deprived of $3.3 million in direct funding and $4 million in promotional time for homegrown content.

“The NFL values the long-standing relationship that we have with our fans in Canada, and we are proud that the Super Bowl is the most watched television program each year. The CRTC’s decision to single out the Super Bowl for disparate treatment is arbitrary and should be reversed. Not only does it undermine the value of our programming, it also undermines Canadian content creators, and, ultimately, the Canadian economy. We’re pleased to join with our partners at Bell Media as well as with others in the business, labor, cultural and creative communities to ask the CRTC to restore rules of the road that promote fairness and growth in Canada,” said David Thomson, NFL Canada Managing Director.

“The original CRTC decision was a foolish one,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias, speaking for 12,000 Canadian journalists and media workers. “Thirty cents of every advertising dollar earned by CTV on the Super Bowl goes directly into making new Canadian TV content, including local news. Allowing American border stations to grab those ad dollars after CTV has paid top dollar for the game’s Canadian distribution rights is beyond belief.”

“Simultaneous substitution has been a cornerstone policy supporting Canada’s film and television sector for many decades. The CRTC’s decision to exempt the Super Bowl broadcast undermined that foundation and put thousands of Canadian performers, and the stories they tell, at risk. Now that some of our worst fears about the impact have been confirmed we hope the Commission will revisit this damaging decision,” said Stephen Waddell, National Executive Director, ACTRA.

“Simultaneous substitution not only protects the program rights negotiated and acquired by Canadian broadcasters, it also gives our advertiser member companies across the country the opportunity to reach Canadian consumers with advertising that is relevant to them,” said Ron Lund, President and CEO, ACA. “Such marketing opportunities are essential for many businesses to grow their sales and build their companies, in turn creating jobs and providing fuel to grow a robust and productive economy.”

“What is the fuss over one program out of 52 weeks of television?” says Janet Callaghan, President of the Canadian Media Directors’ Council. “It is because Super Bowl delivers a huge audience which is irreplaceable. Super Bowl is a live program event with a high entertainment factor, engaging families and friends to view together. This audience can be monetized because the almost 8 million 2017 viewers are 100% Canadian despite the origin of the program, which begs the question as to why the CRTC made a ruling which does not appear to be evidence based on stable consumer data and which returns no financial benefit to the Canadian economy.”

A poll by Nanos Research also reveals that for Canadians who watch the Super Bowl, the actual game and halftime show are significantly more important than the commercial breaks. Nearly 60% of viewers were uncertain whether products being advertised, such as US-only pharmaceuticals and financial services, were available in Canada. Of those interested in watching the US Super Bowl advertising, over 40% did not know the commercials were readily accessible on the Internet in advance of the game. Once they learned this, 60% of those who indicated strong interest in the US ads said that watching them during the game was no longer as important.

Bell Media recognizes there is interest in the US Super Bowl advertisements. If the simsub ban is lifted, Bell Media would produce a special broadcast of US Super Bowl commercials airing on game day and make it available free of charge to all Canadian broadcast distributors to offer as a video-on-demand service, supported by a promotional campaign to ensure more Canadians know they can access the US commercials in advance of the game.


Discovery announces 2017/18 original programming slate; Canadian hits headline network’s 2017 fall lineup

From a media release:

Discovery, primetime’s most-watched entertainment specialty network in Canada among total viewers and key adult demos, announced its 2017 fall lineup today, headlined by an unrivaled 2017/18 original Canadian programming slate. Discovery’s primetime schedule continues to be underpinned by an unprecedented array of wildly popular homegrown programs for fall and winter, produced both in-house and in partnership with some of the country’s most successful independent production companies. In all, Discovery features six brand new programs joining 13 returning original series to headline its schedule for the 2017/18 broadcast year.

New to Discovery’s production slate are character-driven series LAST STOP GARAGE, airing Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT beginning Oct. 23; ROCKY MOUNTAIN RAILROAD (Winter 2018); and HELLFIRE HEROES (Spring 2018). These series are complemented by one-of-a-kind original specials, including the Exploration Production Inc. (EPI)-produced SATURN: INSIDE THE RINGS (Friday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT), featuring DAILY PLANET’s Dan Riskin, as well as the cutting-edge mystery solver from Discovery’s popular “DRAIN” series, DRAIN ALCATRAZ, coming this November.

Following the network’s first foray into original scripted drama last fall, Discovery features the exclusive and thrilling world debut of FRONTIER’s second season, airing Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT beginning Oct. 18. Featuring international film star and Canadian Screen Award nominee Jason Momoa (Justice League), the new season sees new alliances threatening to topple the established power dynamic, as loyalties shift and old wounds fester.

But first, the Fall 2017 schedule kicks off with Season 23 of Discovery’s flagship series DAILY PLANET currently enjoying its most-watched year in series history continuing to go where no one else dares. Kicking off a new season with “Boldly Go Week”, airing Monday, Aug. 28 through Friday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, the original series currently reaches more than 1.4 million viewers each week, and continues to win its 7 p.m. ET timeslot versus other Canadian entertainment specialty channels among key adult demos.

The 2017 fall season follows a highly successful broadcast year for Discovery’s original Canadian programs, which featured the debut of HEAVY RESCUE: 401 in January as the #1 original Canadian series launch of the season on entertainment specialty television, followed by last fall’s world debut of the network’s new scripted series FRONTIER. In 2016/17, Discovery was also home to the most-watched unscripted specialty series in Canada among A18-34 and A18-49, CANADA’S WORST DRIVER.

Winning three of seven nights per week in primetime among A25-54 viewers – more than any other entertainment specialty network – Discovery also claims four of the Top 10 series on entertainment specialty television in the current broadcast year withCANADA’S WORST DRIVER, HEAVY RESCUE: 401, GOLD RUSH, and HIGHWAY THRU HELL.

Looking forward to Discovery’s 2017/18 original programming slate, below are key programming highlights in chronological order:

Fall 2017 Original Programming Highlights

  • Internationally recognized winner of the Canadian Screen Award for Best News or Information Series, DAILY PLANET returns for its 23rd season – Monday-Friday at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT beginning Aug. 28.
  • Top 10 Entertainment Specialty program HIGHWAY THRU HELL returns for Season 6 – Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT beginning Sept. 5.
  • Investigating the stories and science behind major aviation crashes, Season 17 of MAYDAYFridays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT beginning Sept. 8.
  • Exploring the genius of flight technology with the aid of high-end CGI is Season 4 of MIGHTY PLANES Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT beginning Sept. 10.
  • Long-time international favourite, HOW IT’S MADE returns for Season 30 –Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT beginning Sept. 11.
  • Traveling the world to explore how everyday objects can be deconstructed and reimagined in incredible ways, MADE BY DESTRUCTION returns for Season 2 – Mondays at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT beginning Sept. 11.
  • **NEW SPECIAL** As its final act, Cassini – the largest interplanetary spacecraft NASA has ever built – will dive into Saturn’s atmosphere, collecting unprecedented science to end its 13-year mission orbiting the ringed jewel of the solar system. The one-hour special SATURN: INSIDE THE RINGS(Friday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) unveils the engineering of the mammoth spacecraft, while shining a light on the team that responsible for a range of incredible discoveries.
  • As new alliances threaten to topple the established power dynamic, loyalities shift and old wounds fester in the thrilling second season of FRONTIER (Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT beginning Oct. 18), headlining Discovery’s fall schedule with a six-episode broadcast event.
  • **NEW SERIES** LAST STOP GARAGE (Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT beginning Oct. 23) follows the often hilarious antics of CRB Automotive, the sole auto repair shop at the end of the only road left before hitting the most remote North American wilderness.
  • Discovery’s most-watched original series among key adult demos, CANADA’S WORST DRIVER (Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT beginning Oct. 23) enters its 13th season.
  • Season 2 of TOUGHER THAN IT LOOKS (Mondays at 11 p.m. ET and 11:30 p.m. ET/8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. PT beginning Oct. 23) stars CANADA’S WORST DRIVER’s Andrew Younghusband in search of wildly different experiences in each episode.
  • **NEW SPECIAL** The world’s most infamous prison was also its most inescapable. But why? Many have tried to solve this mystery, but none have searched beneath the waves…until now. DRAIN ALCATRAZ (November 2017) uses cutting-edge CGI and sophisticated technology to “drain” the seas and scrub the sediments, revealing once and for all why Alcatraz was so difficult to escape.
  • **NEW SPECIAL** Inspired by the best-selling book from author and DAILY PLANET co-host Dan Riskin, MOTHER NATURE IS TRYING TO KILL YOU (Fall 2017) takes viewers on a lively romp through the underbelly of the natural world. With a unique combination of animation and live action footage, Mother Nature has never looked so twisted. The one-hour special brings to life the sordid tales of insects, animals, and creatures behaving in such shocking fashion that viewers will surely never think of nature in the same beautiful, pleasant way again.
  • Long-running international hit MIGHTY SHIPS (December 2017) sets sail on a new high-stakes voyage for Season 10, taking viewers on the journey and below the surface to explore places and technologies that are usually off-limits to land lovers.

Additional NEW Original Series Coming in 2017/18

  • ROCKY MOUNTAIN RAILROAD (Winter 2018) takes viewers on an action-packed journey to discover an extraordinary Canadian way of life, meeting everyone from off-gridders whose sole source of resupply is the rail to the hardy crews who do whatever it takes to keep these extreme railroads running.
  • Character-driven docuseries HELLFIRE HEROES (Spring 2018) gets up-close-and-personal with firefighters who’ll do just about anything to keep their community safe in the bullseye of the forest fire danger zone, Alberta’s remote Slave Lake.

Additional Returning Original Canadian Series Coming in 2017/18

  • Last season’s most-watched Canadian program debut, HEAVY RESCUE: 401(Winter 2018) returns for a second season to follow Heavy Rescue operators as they keep some of North America’s busiest highways moving.
  • Following the adventures of the jade-mining Bunce Family in northern B.C. is Season 4 of JADE FEVER (Winter 2018).
  • Season 31 of HOW IT’S MADE (Winter 2018) returns for a second helping this broadcast year, continuing to look behind the scenes at how everyday things are manufactured during Season 31.
  • Returning to investigate more major aviation disasters is Season 18 of MAYDAY (Winter 2018).

Link: The CRTC Is Endangering Canadian Culture And Creators

From Maureen Parker for The Huffington Post:

Link: The CRTC Is Endangering Canadian Culture And Creators
The Canadian industry that creates new shows, whatever screen you watch them on, is very small, as is the Canadian marketplace. And, as in most of the western world except the U.S., new shows are subsidized by government regulation. Why? Because it’s extremely expensive to make programming like drama, for instance, whether it’s for traditional broadcast or streaming. So, all those unique shows from around the world we love to watch — Denmark’s Borgen, England’s Broadchurch, or Canada’s Orphan Black or Letterkenny — don’t get made without some kind of regulation. It’s called supporting our own culture. It’s called having our own Canadian communities, histories, ideas, quirks and humour represented, written by the people who can best do that: Canadian screenwriters. Continue reading.