TV, Eh? Industry Update – CBC cuts, Last of the Dragons, State of Syn, more

CBC operating budget cut by $115 million

It’s the worst-kept secret in Canadian television. By 2014-15, CBC’s operating budget will shed $115 million, as part of Canada’s 2012 federal budget. In the same timeframe, Telefilm Canada will shed $10.6 million, while the National Film Board of Canada will shed $6.7 million. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is relatively lucky, as a $400,000 funding reduction is on tap for 2013–14.

CBC sent a press release on March 29, 2012. The press release states that its 2015: Everyone, Every way strategy will work around the budget reductions. Lobby groups and unions aren’t quite as sanguine about CBC’s budget cuts, including the Canadian Media Guild, ACTRA, and Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Studies applauds the budget cuts, as the CCPS calls for CBC’s “inevitable privatization.”

CRTC news

As Alberta gears up for its April 23, 2012 provincial election, the CRTC reminds Albertans of provincial-election-oriented broadcast licensee guidelines.

A call for comments, on amendments to the Specialty Services Regulations, 1990.

The proposed amendment will bring Specialty Services Regulations, 1990 in line with Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987. The latter regulations define an advertisement as a “broadcast in a break within a program or between programs.”

Currently, Shaw Media’s specialty channels must air a maximum 12 minutes of advertising, per clock hour. Shaw Media wants the term “commercial message” defined to exclude “non-traditional advertising,” i.e., things like product placement and virtual ads.

The amendment also deals with the definition of “demarcation point,” as regards the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations. Bell TV wants the BDU Regulations amended, so that a licensee that owns inside wire in commercial and/or institutional buildings is required to allow subscribers and competing BDUs to use said wire, on request.

108 Media launches Last of the Dragons at MIPTV

108 Media, a newly established distributor and sales agent based in Toronto, will launch a miniseries adaptation of Carl Potts’ Last of the Dragons, at MIPTV 2012. Potts’ comic book series was first published from 1982-83, in the pages of Marvel Comics’ adult title, Epic Illustrated. Last of the Dragons was reprinted as a standalone title in 1988, under Marvel Comics’ Epic imprint.

Potts, best known as co-creator of comic book series Alien Legion, oversees the Last of the Dragons project. Adam Shully, LotD’s producer, was an executive producer on CTV/CBS’ The Bridge (2010), and produced Citytv/SPACE’s Blood Ties (2007-08.) LotD executive producer Mark Shekter is best known for YTV’s Vampire High (2001-02.)

Odds and sods

Netflix claims more than forty percent of Canadian children are accidentally exposed to “inappropriate content” on television. More than seventy percent of parents worry about what their children watch on television, and three out of four parents worry about the advertising content. In a related story, more than ninety percent of me wonders what this press release says, beyond “subscribe to Netflix.”

Shaftesbury, through its Smokebomb Entertainment web series division, launches State of Syn.

The science-fiction “motion novel” stars Jewel Staite, David Hewlett, and Rainbow Sun Francks. Ten five-minute episodes begin production in early April 2012.

UK boy band The Wanted appear on Citytv Toronto’s Breakfast Television April 3, 2012.

Peace Point Entertainment Group launches a distribution arm, Peace Point Rights.

PPEG/PPR’s MIPTV slate includes gay travel show Bump!, CMT Canada’s Hammer & Chew: Lords of Junk, and Food Network Canada’s Fresh with Anna Olson. PPR aims to obtain other shows, for Canadian and international distribution.

Radical Sheep Productions will be at MIPTV 2012, selling potential buyers on The Bagel and Becky Show. The show is based on Dave Cooper’s 2007 children’s book, Bagel’s Lucky Hat. The Bagel and Becky Show is currently in development with Teletoon.

CTV’s W5 interviews William Shatner.

Rogers defends its terms of commitment regarding SCN, as mentioned in the March 21, 2012 Industry Roundup.

An added wrinkle to Rogers’ placing 23 per cent of SCN’s gross revenue towards independent films: that money will be spent in Saskatchewan. Other Citytv stations pool their 23 per cent of gross revenue into a cross-Canada fund, which is used to mount local versions of Breakfast Television.