by JAMES BRADSHAW – MEDIA REPORTER -The Globe & Mail
Canada’s broadcast regulator is re-writing the rules that protect Canadian television programs, hoping it can nurture better, more popular shows by relaxing quotas that ensure blocks of the broadcast day are made in Canada.
To encourage producers and broadcasters to focus their spending on quality, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is substantially reducing the number of hours each day that must be filled with Canadian content. But it will keep half of the prime time evening schedule earmarked for Canadian programs on local networks.
The national broadcast regulator said Thursday it was cutting the quota for the ratio of Canadian programs that local TV stations must broadcast during the day from 55 per cent to zero. That’s a recognition that stations have sometimes been broadcasting the same program episodes many times over the course of a day, or even over years, simply to satisfy the old Cancon rule.
“Television quotas are an idea that is wholly anachronistic in the age of abundance and in a world of choice,” CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said in a lunch address to the Canadian Club of Ottawa.
But during weekday prime time — 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. — the requirement that 50 per cent of programming must be Canadian will be maintained.
Broadcasters will still have to spend a certain portion of their revenues on producing Canadian TV content, but will be able to concentrate those dollars on a smaller number of shows if they choose to. The regulator is also scrapping a rule that protected many niche channels from direct competition in a bid to open up competition between channels.
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The CRTC should take a “marketing approach” rather than a bureaucratic governmental approach to TV. Drop the Canadian Content regulations COMPLETELY, the resulting flood to the annual Hollywood TV program buying party will result in a shortage of US programming and drive up the price to unaffordable levels. These Canadian stations and networks will have to produce their own programs locally or buy programs from Canadian and International sources just to fill their programming day. Either that or schedule infomercials 24/7.
HELLO? Can Con reductions for radio? These new rules are like allowing radio to dump Canadian Content after morning shows. Then leaving Morning radio to 30%. Can You imagine? Instead its gone from 30, to 33 then 35 and some are saying it could jump to 40%. Crazy. Can Con needs to go the way of Non Hit. Remember all the non hit junk we had to play in the 90’s?? Ugh.