Posts Tagged ‘media in canada’

We Can All Learn Something from iTunes

May 29, 2009 Leave a comment

On Thursday (May 28, 2009), American networks like ABC, Fox, NBC and WB made 20 of their TV series available on the iTunes Canada store. Now Canadians can download favorites like Grey’s Anatomy, House and many more for $2.50 – $3.50 per ep. This is great news for Canada because U.S. based websites like or are not allowed to serve their free video content to Canadians (as part of their contractual content distribution rights).

FACT: Canada has the highest online video penetration of the five countries comScore tracks (Canada 88%, France 82%, Germany 82%, U.K. 81%, U.S. 76%).

Think of the one or two early adopters you probably know who like to show off their media servers and web connected home theatre systems whenever you come over for a visit. I don’t think anyone can dispute the fact that we will, in the very near future begin to see mass acceptance of web enabled television. This is when viewers will actually be able to interact with broadcast and advertising content via the internet on a single screen, in the comfort of their living room. To put it all in context: You (yes you!) will be able to sit down in your living room, turn on your TV, visit the iTunes Canada store to download The Office in hi-def, store the episode on your hard drive and watch it whenever you are ready, in Dolby 5.1 surround sounds (of course). This is happening now and will acceptance will continue to accelerate.

I think that Canadian cable companies resisting broadcasters’ requests for ‘fee-for-carriage’ can learn a thing or two from iTunes and the inevitable world of web enabled television. In an industry where audiences are becoming increasingly empowered to get what they want, distributors have a responsibility to cooperate so that everyone wins. If ABC is able to cooperate with iTunes in terms of distributing Grey’s Anatomy, why isn’t it working for CTV and Shaw or Global and Videotron?

What do you think? Leave your comments here.

Cable Co’s getting their Cake and Eating it too!?

April 27, 2009 Leave a comment


Does it surprise you that Canadian cable companies reported a 16% increase in revenue in 2008? It surprised the hell out of me. Although I am somewhat biased because I do work for a broadcaster, I just can’t wrap my head around double digit growth from players within an industry that is facing unprecedented economic pressure, billion dollar write downs and sweeping job losses. It’s like Domino’s Pizza being on the brink of collapse while their pizza delivery guys are making money hand over fist! Something doesn’t compute.

Media companies like Canwest and CTV are shedding jobs, cutting costs and lobbying the CRTC for fee-for-carriage in an effort to remedy what many are calling a broken business model. The CRTC has prevented media companies from charging cable companies like Videotron and Cogeco for Canadian television that is distributed to households. Which means that the “manufacturer” is receiving nothing for its product or the syndication of its product. OK, but now factor in some of the other stakeholders affected by the situation. Marketers, ad agencies, productions firms, journalists, editors… all feeling the pinch of today’s economic recession. But yet the cable co’s are growing at 16%!! Wow.

I’m not suggesting we send a lynching mob after the cable companies. After all, what would television be without cable service providers? They go hand in hand and so should the CRTC’s approach to its regulatory structure.