I have been asked to write about regulatory activity for the TV, eh? audience. You might ask yourself – “why should I care about regulations – I am a fan/creator/broadcaster/distributor and I just want to know about Canadian TV”?
Without government policies, in their infinite and constantly evolving complexity, there would be no Canadian media. None. In particular, the Broadcasting Act and its stewards the CRTC ensure that we have a Canadian-owned broadcasting system and that each element of the system (primarily broadcasters and cable and satellite companies) contributes to the creation and presentation of Canadian programming.
Without these rules and regulations we would all be watching Masterchef and Under the Dome and other US shows on a US network. Well, we are anyway … but we have the choice to watch Canadian programming that reflects our world, our stories and how we see ourselves.
Nurtured, our talent pool has created terrific programming that has been extremely popular with audiences – Amazing Race Canada was the top show in Canada last week and during this summer season Rookie Blue and The Listener are both averaging over a million viewers each episode.
We also have the choice to watch high quality documentaries, children’s programming and Canadian feature films because of the regulatory support of the Broadcasting Act and policies and funding through Heritage Canada.
It is, however, an imperfect system. The CRTC is always trying to tweak the balance between consumers, creators and citizens and between broadcasters, cable companies and producers. The media world is constantly evolving with new technologies, new business models, new consumption patterns and new players. The system is constantly in tension and sometimes, often, you — the lover or creator of Canadian television — is forgotten.
My job here will be to translate regulatory activity (mostly CRTC but also changes in funding at Canada Media Fund or the independent funds or changes in policies at Canadian Heritage) and explain the impact on Canadian programming. Will there be more or less, what kind, should I be upset or excited about it?
Acronyms will unfortunately creep in. I have a decoder on my personal blog.
Coming up: The big regulatory news is the TalkTV hearing which will take place September 8 – 19th, 2014. We could expect a decision on that hearing possibly before the end of the calendar year and then the following year we will likely have a number of follow up hearings on specific issues.