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New CRTC Regulations Are Bad News To Canadian Independent...

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Maurice Ali

Joined: 14 Nov 2003
Posts: 7768
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 4:22 pm    Post subject: New CRTC Regulations Are Bad News To Canadian Independent... Reply with quote

New CRTC Regulations Are Bad News To Canadian Independent Television Production!

By Maurice Ali, President: Fortress Of Freedom Inc.

Today (March 12, 2015) CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais announced that the regulator is easing its long standing rules for TV broadcasters over Canadian produced content. The net result is the dropping of Canadian Content during daytime programming from 55 percent to 0 but keeping content requirements at the same levels for prime time. Specialty channels will now have their Canadian content requirements harmonized to 35 percent.

For small independent TV production companies like Fortress Of Freedom Inc., this news will put undue hardship on most of us and spell the end of operations for others. Low budget independent production will now have almost no influence to get their Canadian programming into television broadcasters because they now have no need to play them. Prime time now has new incentives for shows that are big budget but these productions will be few and far between, an idea elaborated by the CRTC today in its announcement. It would appear that they want fewer shows but higher quality.

"The system cannot remain frozen in time when the world around us is changing," CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais also said: "We know that it will not be easy for everyone to adapt to this shift. We are confident, however, that Canadian creators have the know-how and tools to succeed."

As a small independent production house I can say from my experience that this shift was too extreme in its implementation. Fewer and bigger budget TV shows mean less work for Canadian actors. Less work for all the people who work behind the scenes. Less revenue for studios, retailers of professional equipment and services, and less production houses that produce quality Canadian programming. The whole reason for being was to ensure there would be some guarantee that Canadian culture would survive and have a broadcast venue apart from the influence of larger nations like the U.S.A. and I fear now Canadian culture will be lost in the influx of American television onto our public airwaves.

The damage is done now and all of us that remain in the Canadian independent television community can only hope to find some way to salvage current productions and then take a long hard look at whether there is any point in future productions that emphasize Canadian values, and even if there is any future for any production now that we are forced to compete with American productions that have bigger budgets with easier access to venture capital, and now easier access to Canadian television stations. This is a dark day for Canadian culture, a better solution could have been found.

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