Mad Men is breaking with convention and will bypass traditional broadcasters in Canada in favor of an exclusive online deal with Apple.
Season three of the award-winning series will be available for download on iTunes Canada following a deal with distributor Maple Pictures, making it one of the most prominent shows to forgo a conventional broadcaster in favor of the Internet.
The series will, however, continue to run on its home broadcaster, AMC, which is carried here by certain cable and satellite systems such as Rogers and Bell TV.
Now this is interesting.
The Canadian private broadcasters like to complain about the tremendous burden of having to carry Canadian content. They'd rather run just American content. Yet the only reason they exist is because when they buy American shows, cable companies have to swap out the American signal and swap in their signal during those shows. E.g. if CTV buys LOST, then when LOST airs on ABC, Canadians are actually watching CTV. So the Canadian networks think there should be a free market when it comes to Cancon, but they think it should be a protected market when it comes to Amcon
What's happened here is that AMC has decided not to sell MAD MEN to any Canadian networks. Maybe CTV didn't want to shell out enough money, who knows. But AMC has decided to make an end run right to the consumer. Obviously it's something that, given the current market, only makes economic sense for a show with classy demographics like MAD MEN. But it could be a wave of the future.
Which might bring on the McGrathian Apocalypse, when Canadian networks find themselves with nothing to offer except
Canadian content. And then, who knows? They'll start insisting that the government support writers and producers and directors and actors more.
It could happen.
it might be a future where the individual creator or group of creators is actually the "network."
They take on the responsibility of making the show, and reap all of the rewards (or not) direct from the consumer. No middleman taking a slice of the pie for "being there" or "having the signal by which to broadcast."
And because its online and always available - it's evergreen. Someone new is always going to "discover it."
There's been such a dispute between Canadian broadcasters and the American studios, that American shows have been VERY slow to get on iTunes Canada. I guess this is an easy way to bypass that dispute. I wonder how much they'll make on iTunes as opposed to with a Canadian broadcaster.
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I liked "Mad Men" when it first came out, called "thirtysomething."
"dona" babelfish will only take you so far.
Sounds like the private networks up here may not have much choice but to pony up for more homegrown if we see more of this sort of end-run.
Of course, if the local talent decides to skip the networks as well and go more directly to the viewers-we-hope...?
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