Discover this, CRTC

I’ve been gorging on a lot of UK crime dramas lately, though crime shows have rarely been my preferred series of choice (there’s a The Wire exception to every rule though).  Luther might have been the first I devoured, but it’s been followed by The Fall, Happy Valley, Scott & Bailey, and Broadchurch. I tried others and found they weren’t to my taste: Inspector Morse and Midsommer Murders are two I remember. Some UK not-crime dramas slipped into my heart, too: Call The Midwife, The Bletchley Circle.

US series have the advantage of all the marketing money in the world and being widely covered in Canadian media, and Sherlock Holmes and Downton Abbey have become mainstream North American water cooler shows, but how did I discover all these UK series? Netflix. One after another, Netflix told me I’d probably like them, and Netflix is often right.

One of the interesting aspects of last week’s TalkTV announcements was the CRTC’s intention to host a “Discoverability Summit” this fall to “bring together innovators and thought-leaders from the public and private sectors to explore how technology can be used to help viewers find programs made by Canadians.”

Great things happen when thought leaders get together, naturally. I sure hope those innovators consist of the people who thought up the Eye on Canada brand.  That was super successful.

Sarcasm aside, very few Canadian series are on Netflix Canada, and that’s by design. Shaw, Rogers and Bell don’t want their programs on the evil empire, choosing instead to create their own walled garden streaming services where they can place their original series, unfettered by Netflix’s established, incredible recommendation engine.

I’m unlikely to be invited to this Discoverability Summit, but I have some ideas for the CRTC and the industry at large, free for the taking:

  • Sell your damn shows to Netflix.
  • Fund TV critic positions at all major newspapers in the country. Accept that these critics will not always cover or like your shows, and fund the positions anyway. Newspapers sure aren’t doing much of that lately.
  • Hell, fund TV, eh? (I may have a slight bias here.)
  • Run far, far away from attempts to brand all Canadian content as though it’s the brand and not the show that matters (hi, Eye on Canada).  In fact run from anything that smacks of “build it and they will come”.
  • Did I mention Netflix? I hear they buy shows.

6 thoughts on “Discover this, CRTC”

  1. Lol. I feel the same way. About 10 years ago I started watching some Brit shows on BBC Canada, namely Waterloo Road, My Family, MI5 and Distant Shores and I really liked them. However, BBC Canada dropped all the shows and began to air a bunch of reality shows and the like instead so I unsubscribed to the channel. It wasn’t until last year that I began watching various Brit shows on Netflix. I fell in love with the likes of Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife. and The Bletchley Circle. And even though I’m not a crime drama fan, I’ve watched The Fall and I’m intending on watching Broadchurch and Scott & Bailey, just as soon as I’m finished watching the 3rd season of Call the Midwife and Land Girls.

  2. Diane, have you tried “Endeavour”? Inspector Morse left me cold, but I loved the young Morse. And for wacky fun (not a crime drama), “The Misfits”.

  3. I like the ones you don’t and don’t like the ones you do.

    Plus you say don’t make stuff that has to say ‘Canada’ — just do a good show, well tell that to the americans.

    For their own shows they NEVER apologize for saying ‘this is AMERICA’, they plaster it everywhere.

    One thing that I’ve noticed about all those american paid for BBC shows is that they ALL find lots of ways to say quite a few things ‘American’ in every episode of every BBC show they pay for.

    Since Canada has to shutup about being Canada, I wish America would have to also.

  4. Part of the charm about UK dramas is getting to have an inside look at the place and people (setting/culture) and I think the Brits have the advantage of having different accents so they don’t have to pretend to be Americans like we do. ive
    I’ve never gotten to travel anywhere outside of Canada (except North Dakota) and its kind of neat watching these shows. I’ve also enjoyed a several of the foreign movies on Netflix. It’s like having the world at your finger tips. It’s a a shame Canada doesby have much of a presence on Netflix.

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