“Broad Initiative,” Whatever That Means


I know it’s easy to feel less than optimistic about home-grown English-language television in Canada. Then I see press releases like this and I feel even less optimistic than before.

It’s not that the objective, to “create a groundswell in favour of Canadian content,” is a bad one, it’s just that it’s so generic and non-specific, and gives no real indication of how such a groundswell is to be created. Particularly since the only real way to make great Canadian content is for writers, directors, actors, et al to make it — and those people are hardly mentioned in the press release at all. Instead we get this:

Brabant and Creighton are of one mind that the time has come to leverage the success and investment in our content. The project will look to industry expertise from the production, broadcast and distribution sectors as well as other agencies to work towards a cohesive strategy that positions Canadian content in the forefront, and that will explore and leverage the opportunities offered by multi-platform digital distribution and social media.

But what of the content itself? Why isn’t it as popular in English Canada as local content is in other countries, or in Quebec? Now, I’m probably being unfair here: The issue of how to encourage the creation and promotion of quality content is a hard one for these organizations to take up, so it may be that I’m expressing unfair expectations here. But it does give the release a bit of the feel of those “friends of serious music” organizations that ignore the primary problem: there’s not enough new content out there that people want to listen to.

Meanwhile, we learn that fewer U.S. pilots are shooting in Canada this year, because the exchange rate is no longer friendly and the CW is less able to pretend it’s a real network. Which makes it still more important that we find things to do with the expert technical crews we have in this country — like make some popular dramas of our own. It is a real issue worth studying, in other words; I just don’t get the impression that this “broad initiative” is studying it from the right direction. Maybe I’ll be wrong.

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“Broad Initiative,” Whatever That Means

  1. I think we should do exactly what we've always tried to do! But anew!

  2. I was watching the new A&E show Cons or Escape Artists or whatever and I saw Cake from Rent-a-Goalie. Is the show being filmed in Canada or did he just head south to try his luck?

  3. I have a great idea for a new "broad initiative": make Canadian content that we actually want to watch.

  4. I don’t take stock in Telefilm Canada’s announcement. This is an organization that, on Thursday night, felt the need to point out which Genie Award winners received funding from the organization. Considering two TC-funded films – Incendies and Barney’s Version – took home the vast majority of the awards, Telefilm Canada’s press release was an empty gesture.

    This press release is similarly empty. A “local and international” scope? That reads like Telefilm Canada hedging its bets. I’d like to know how TC could convince the broadcasters and cable channels to find a better long-term strategy than pasting their schedules with American content and reality filler. The “stimulate demand for Canadian stories” rhetoric farts dust in 2011. Heck, it farted dust in 1991.

    • I'd like to know how TC could convince the broadcasters and cable channels to find a better long-term strategy than pasting their schedules with American content and reality filler.

      "We're entering the Internet Broadcast age. Content, as always, will be king. Those who fail to own any are at substantial risk if their sole plan is to rely on the continued existence of "geo-blocking" to keep the world flat. Start investing in your own ability to create competitive content to ensure your own survival, or continue to tuck your head in the sand and get caught flat-footed when your suppliers realize you're not necessary to reach Canadian eyeballs. Your call."

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