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TV, Eh? Industry Roundup: The Mostly-CRTC Edition

Astral executive shuffle

Astral’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Claude Gagnon, has left the company after more than twenty years. Gagnon joined Astral in July 1991, announcing his retirement effective January 31, 2012. Taking Gagnon’s place as SVP/CFO is Robert Fortier, Astral’s Vice-President, Finance.
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TV, eh? Industry Roundup: DVDs, Cartoon Network Canada & more

By Cameron Archer for TV, eh?

DVD Releases

Canadian TV-on-DVD is surprisingly active, as of late. Rookie Blue‘s second season will be released on DVD/Blu-ray by eOne, on May 8, 2012. Combat Hospital fans have to settle for Sony’s manufacture-on-demand (MOD) DVD set of “Season 1,” on March 6, 2012.

eOne will also release a couple of Showcase dramas. King‘s first season appears on DVD March 6, 2012, while Lost Girl‘s first season appears on DVD March 27, 2012.

Durham County‘s third season will be released on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment’s Canadian division February 21, 2012. eOne will respond with its own HBO Canada title, Call Me Fitz (second season; March 13, 2012 on DVD.)

If you’re looking for new DVD/Blu-ray sets of Canadian shows not made before this decade, keep looking.

Continue reading TV, eh? Industry Roundup: DVDs, Cartoon Network Canada & more

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TV, eh? Interview: Ron E. Scott of Blackstone

Blackstone's Ron E Scott with Michelle Thrush

By Diane Wild of TV, eh?

Touching on topics such as missing women, tainted water on reserves, and how parenting issues have a devastating ripple effect on a community, no one could accuse APTN’s Blackstone of being a guilty pleasure. But executive producer, writer and director Ron E. Scott aims for it to be a pleasure all the same.

“Our primary goal is to entertain, not educate,” he said in a recent interview. “There’s always value in wanting to speak to issues. Any great television series out there, whether it’s in Canada or the US, always has something to say. We never want to come across as comfort food. I like to call it a big steak – there’s a lot to eat, a lot to take in. Everything’s not going to be wrapped up in a pretty bow at the end of your 60 minutes.”

A member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Scott draws on his own experiences “growing up in a fairly dysfunctional part native, part white world,” and on current affairs, to keep the show relevant. But he’s particularly interested in developing an ensemble of rich characters that keep an audience, native and non-native alike, tuning in week to week.

“As a content creator, as someone who wants to tell stories, it’s important the series is accessible to everyone,” he said.

He also sees the value of accessibility from an economic standpoint – a factor that resonates given that former broadcasting partner Showcase is not airing Blackstone’s second season (or much other original programming.) “This is a business, and for that business to continue you have to penetrate certain markets.”

Michelle Thrush’s Gemini win as Best Actress in a Drama helped. “It did open the eyes of the non-native audience, because the native audience has already embraced it.”

The series has sold to New Zealand, has a US distributor, and “other deals are pending,” said Scott, but in the meantime Canadian audiences can watch season two on APTN Wednesdays, or catch up on the show at APTN.ca .

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TV, eh? Industry Roundup

Industry

 

By Cameron Archer for TV, eh?

CRTC Introduces Capacity Based Billing

The CRTC will introduce capacity-based billing starting February 1, 2012. Under CBB, smaller ISPs buy a set amount of network capacity per month from major players MTS Allstream, Cogeco, Rogers Communications, Bell Canada, and Shaw Communications.

In essence, the smaller ISPs are capped, much like individual consumers. Bell is exempt from this new billing, while it resolves its problems with the Canadian Network Operators Consortium.

Under this new billing, oversubscription and higher average usage could slow average speeds. Quite a way for new interim CRTC chairman Leonard Katz to begin his run.

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