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.