A recent article at Canada.com asks if Canadian media content is getting enough visibility online. The author argues that it isn’t, and he argues that new media (the internet) is the same as old media:
“You see, just like television, new media is simply another platform for viewing and distributing programming content.”
He then asks how Canadians can find “their own” content… Heres where my cosmopolitan self comes out and I scream “why would I want to prioritize Canadian content over any other international content?” The idea here is that our industries need help and support to compete with larger ones – ala Hollywood. I understand this perspective, and think subsidizing Canadian film and TV has worked for the better – creating some really great shows that would not otherwise exist. Not to mention I hate Fox news and would be happy to put an enormous levy on its bullshit. When it comes to associating the internet with traditional broadcasting, I start to spazz. There is more Canadian content available now than ever before – and this is because of the internet. Google even helps us find Canadian content by searching “for pages in Canada”. The blogsphere is filled with Canadian content. So no, the internet is not the same as broadcasting… Content is created more by amateur canadians than professional ones.
“The bottom-line is, whether you are watching an episode of Corner Gas on your TV or ctv.ca, you are enjoying a “broadcast” and the CRTC is obligated under the Broadcasting Act to regulate it.”
No, actually when you watch a tv show online, it is NOT a broadcast in any way whatsoever. It’s completely different. You can broadcast information online, but when it is streamed to individual people, at individual times, it is not a broadcast. The author continues to call it “new media broadcasting” and hopefully someone will correct him. So let’s look at the authors suggestions:
First, those who are streaming live programs from Canada, through the Internet or to mobile receiving devices, must be licensed and subject to rules equivalent to conventional TV broadcasters. Second, those who are using new media to make programs available from Canada for viewing at a time and place chosen by the viewer must be licensed and subject to regulations equivalent to other “on-demand” programming undertakings. Third, if the CRTC is going to create space for Canadian stories in new media, there must be stories to fill that space. To that end, a levy should be imposed on Internet and wireless service providers to fund new media production, modelled on the levy on cable companies.
Huh? An internet levy? What is that? Some tax for an internet connection? What if I play more video games than I watch TV? Is it really that hard for Canadian content to compete with American content? If so, then tax the American content, not the internet, which is used for so much more than TV. I would be more sympathetic of these Canadian content companies if they would at least try to get their content online. Right now, it’s easier to pirate tv shows than to pay for access to them online. If they can’t even make the shows available on the internet in 2009, then they certainly do not deserve an internet levy!
Do you feel Canadian content needs help being found online? Do your surfing habbits cause you to miss out? Do television companies deserve government help, or are they lazy bastards who haven’t bothered to put their content online? [are legal issues in the way of letting them do this? Are they locked down by cable/satellite companies perhaps? (hey wait, those are the internet providers too... hmmm)]