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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

There's talk of the CRTC enforcing a $1-$1 ratio of spending on US programming to spending on Canadian programming. Currently the ratio is $775 million on US programming to $619 million on Canadian programming.

This seems like an excellent idea. There's no good reason for the Canadian networks to fight it, because it wouldn't actually reduce the amount of US programming they can buy. It just means they'll all have less money with which to compete for US product. They can still compete on a program-by-program basis, but they'll be competing with fewer dollars.

That means that US distribs will have to bring down prices. If Canadian networks have only $619 mil to spend on US programming, that's how much US distribs will sell the programming to them for.

Programming isn't a commodity. If you sell CSI to Canada, you don't have less CSI to sell somewhere else. Ultimately US distribs are going to sell CSI to Canada for however much or how little is on offer, because it puts dollars in their pocket and not selling it doesn't put any dollars in their pocket.

The nets probably can't afford to step up to $775 mil spent on Canadian programming. CanWest is in severe financial jeopardy right now as is. But the more money they save by not spending it in the US, the more money they have to spend in Canada. Which in a recession is probably an even better idea than it usually is.

Excellent idea, CRTC. Hope it goes through.



Even if this goes through, does it help at all as long as crap like 'ET Canada' counts as Drama Programming?

By Blogger sean, at 3:25 PM  

I think it *helps* but probably not more than 10%.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 3:43 PM  

Over at TV By The Numbers a lot of commenters have pointed out the negative impact of this. If prices don't come down and Canadian networks buy fewer American shows, Canadian viewers will just keep watching Lost and House and what-have-you on the American stations we all get with basic cable. Canadian networks will lose viewers rather than increase their CanCon.

By Blogger Derek, at 1:35 PM  

What makes you think prices won't come down?

If you're an American producer, and you have a choice of selling your show to Canada for half price, or not selling it at all, which are you going to do?

Also the Canadian networks don't lose revenue to the American networks on basic cable because they get to swap out US commercials for their Canadian ones, by some arcane rules I don't completely understand.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 1:57 PM  

I didn't say I don't think prices will come down, I'm conveying the What If from TVBTN's comments.

Revenue from commercials is separate from viewership of Canadian channels and their Canadian content.

By Blogger Derek, at 10:12 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger sex, at 3:18 PM  

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