Friday, 3 April 2015

Have I Mentioned That Canadian Networks Suck?

...If I hadn't, then I was too busy slamming Bell Media. They truly are the catalyst for everything wrong with Canadian television today. From the moment they bought out CHUM, everything went down the shitter, and when they destroyed Astral Media, everything went to hell. Of course, the reasons why Canadian networks suck are more of a joint effort. Let's back up a bit, shall we?

In the beginning, it wasn't a monopoly, there were a plethora of companies with their own speciality services. YTV pitted their Nickelodeon-inspired weirdness against the predominately unreal Teletoon. MTV was launched in Canada to steal MuchMusic's thunder. TSN and Sportsnet traded blows, and owners, even when they shared the same building. Then, the fun really started when The Score came on to the scene, with WWE programming in tow.

Canadian programming was in the spotlight. Whether it was the indie films on Showcase, the innovative series on The Comedy Network, or the unique animated shows that graced Teletoon from dawn till dusk. It wasn't just about American imports, it was also about international programming. Going back to Teletoon, some of their best shows were made by/with studios from around the world. Going back to YTV, if you weren't into 15/Love, you were too busy watching Naruto.

Fast forward to today. With all the money broadcast networks gained in simulcasting American dramas, you'd think they spend some on developing new Canadian shows. Instead, they spend it on more American shows, and I mean American shows. Though, in recent years, it would seem as though Rogers and Shaw have tried to reverse this trend. But I can tell you this much, locking away your content on a cable-exclusive steaming service won't help anyone.

Exclusivity deals turned speciality channels into cheap knock-offs of American brands; literally, in the case of the current MTV Canada. YTV canned many of their interesting shows and alienated older audiences to become an even crappier version of Nickelodeon, in spite of a local version already on the air. Cartoon Network has recovered from an infamous period of network decay, and has actually helped elevate the animation genre in the process; Teletoon continues to produce cheap fodder for kinderg√§rtners and man-children.

This is because Corus owns both networks and they mainly produce programs for women & children, leaving more mature programming to other broadcasters. On the other hand, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network are owned by separate companies, with separate goals, and separate budgets. You see the problem here? If Teletoon was owned by someone other than Corus, they wouldn't follow in YTV's footsteps, they would try something different.

Nowadays, and I just realized this now, it's not a competition any more; it's a turf war; with everyone and everything caught in the crossfire. Since all of Canadian television boils down to just three companies, and they all own about twenty television services; they don't have the money to produce their own shit, so they just buy more shows from the U.S. Canadian shows take a back seat to American shows, to the point were, in the case of YTV, they become so low quality, the American shows are the only ones worth watching.

Hence, the popularity of the internet, streaming services, and the trend of cord-cutting. Because why complain about YTV not airing anime, when I can watch that shit anytime, anywhere? Why complain about Much's ignorance towards music, when I can fire up VevoTV? Why bother watching crappy Canadian networks, when online services are providing a platform for shows by people who don't want to play it safe? That's all the motivation I need.

In a decade or two, the broadcasters will realize they can't have their cake and eat it too, the CRTC will realize how broken telecommunications have become and, with a little help from consumers, things will get better. Until then, here's to the new Daredevil series on Netflix.

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