Angry Robot

More stuff about Canadian TV

Let’s follow up about the recent CRTC announcements I linked to last week. Here’s a good article with some more detail and some good analysis. There’s also this (thanks, Xorkaya) that seems to indicate US specialty brands are salivating about how dropping genre protection may mean they can move some channels north. I would point out that unless the CRTC is changing more rules than I’ve heard, those channels would still have to be Canadian-owned and subject to CanCon restrictions (which of course have been eased), so similar to existing branch-plant channels like HBO Canada, History, MTV, Discovery, HGTV, etc. Certainly killing genre protection means we’ll see more American brands up here, but they’re probably still going to have to enlist a Rogers or Bell to do so.

There are further rulings coming Thursday, and it’s likely the CRTC will announce how pick-and-pay for cable channels is going to work.

My opinion? (Not in any way my employer’s opinion!) A lot of this is water under the bridge. The bridge is red and has the word “Netflix” on it. Not that Netflix is the only future, but the future is going to look like a grid of icons with things like “Netflix” on it. Each of them opens up to a grid of shows. (Or perhaps a live feed? The exact thing that opens up is in play now.) Regardless, these things replace channels, and the purpose of these things is to get as many subscribers as possible, so they want to be on as many platforms as possible. They also need content. The Canadian producers / distributors / brands / entities / whatever you want to call them that can either provide content or be the actual icon in the grid, those are the entities that, long term, will survive. It’s similar to the past, but the cultural walls around Canada, if they ever existed, are crumbling. That isn’t scary. We should be thinking about where else in the world we can develop a taste for poutine, maple syrup, good comedy by people who haven’t moved to LA yet, or profoundly terrible hockey teams.