It’s only been a week since social media gorged on the Oscars, Hollywood’s valentine to itself. Together we gushed and snarked at the red carpet fashion, cringed at Neil Patrick Harris’s never-ending box trick, cheered and hissed at the speeches, and even talked a bit about the merit of the movies themselves. The broadcasters, ABC and CTV, live blogged and used the #Oscars hashtag on Twitter. The continent was united in watching a live event. PVRs are for losers when it comes to the collective water cooler that is social media.
Tonight the Canadian Screen Awards take place at 7 pm in Toronto, but will air on CBC at 8 pm local time across the country, and be streamed online at 8 pm Eastern Time everywhere — meaning there will be no way to take advantage of the live event to create a communal experience for viewers.
Those who care about the awards — those who are the biggest advocates for the shows, movies, and the industry as a whole — will turn to the tweets of those in the room to learn the winners before (and in many cases instead of) tuning in to the broadcast.
We didn’t suffer though the endless hours of the Oscars because the show itself was so entertaining — we watched because we wanted to see who won, together. I run a website on Canadian television. I love awards shows. This is my night. And yet I will no more watch the awards on tape delay than I would watch the Stanley Cup Final on PVR.
I won’t argue that the Canadian Screen Awards are as important to Canadian popular culture as the Oscars are, but I will argue that the Canadian television industry has a huge stake in giving them pride of place on their schedule, which for a live event means live, especially in this social media age.
The Canadian Screen Award ratings may very well end up being good enough for CBC. But an industry that aims for good enough is not an industry I’d be proud of.