July 27, 2014
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#42 MuchMusic Isn’t Dead, But We Should Probably Kill It
MuchMusic and dozens of other specialty channels collect millions of dollars a year from subscribers who didn't ask for them and don't watch them. Meanwhile, channels are laying off their staffs and producing less meaningful content than ever. Is it time to cut the cord on the protected cable business?

Episode Rundown

0:42 The eulogies of MuchMusic (link) (link) (link)

01:50 Greg O’Brien, Editor & publisher of Cartt.ca (link)

03:12 Moses Znaimer (link)

03:28 Peter Nygard (link)

04:58 “…under their CRTC licence, they have to air 12 hours of music videos everyday. They accepted that when they took ownership of the licence. When they bought it from CityTV” – O’Brien. They call it “Beaver hours” (link)

05:21 “They have to play these music videos. It’s in the logs and they have to prove it to the commission that they play this much hours of music videos.” O’Brien

5:46 (CRTC staffers enforce this) but they only act if someone complains… If someone complains that a channel is violating its licence. You know, if Sportsnet starts showing womens programing or if W network starts showing hockey” – O’Brien referring to how a channel could get in trouble if they broke their licence agreement.

Make your complaints here. (link)

06:38 “It was a cash cow for a long time. Same thing for History, nobody else is allowed to launch, in Canada, a history channel because Shaw owns that genre protected licence” – O’Brien

07:32 (other channels can play videos) “…as long as you don’t call it a music video station or don’t play too many.” – O’Brien.

08:15 “If Shaw has a claim on history,  I can’t come into the market with a competing History Channel. Does that mean they have to have history programming? Because when I watch the History Channel, I’m not seeing a ton of educational history stuff.” Jesse

Cracked has the best take of the decline of the History Channel (link)

09:22 “Ice Road Truckers is an historical show because we have historically had ice roads.”

10:01 “In return for launching that channel, because our market is so small, the CRTC would say that it’s your channel, you will be the only one that has that channel. And you’ll be able to go to market free of competition.” O’Brein

10:22 “If we had allowed Comedy Central just to come into Canada, we wouldn’t have a comedy network in Canada.” Some say that would be a good thing.

12:00 “Book Television is the example we use to illustrate the problems in the industry” O’Brein.  Follow-up story (link)

12:32 “Book Television has half an employee assigned to it.” (link)

13:21 “It makes about $4.5 million a year on subscriptions because their in these big bundles.” O’Brein talking about Book Television (link)

14:27 This hearing (link)

19:08 “Don’t get so carried away. ‘The government could force us to unbundle it, but you’re not going to save a dime.’ If we’re not going to save a dime, why would they be fighting it so doggedly for years? Obviously they’re afraid of something.” -Jesse

20:01 “Rogers will speak at length about the experiment they did in London (Ontario) where they broke up the packages as best they could…and let people buy one at a time, and hardly anybody took them up on the offer.” O’Brein (link)

25:11 “Given the choice, Canadians choose American programming and, like you say, if we just let the American stations come in here (over the Internet)…Canadians will choose that.” Jesse

26:08 “Disney last week signed a deal with Netflix. Netflix will be the exclusive Canadian partner for all of the animated and live action movies for Disney starting in 2015.” O’Brien (link)

26:54 “The Canadian market is really unique when you look around the world. We are right beside the world’s biggest cultural producer, and we’re the same language.” O’Brien

27:25 Nope, “protectionary” isn’t a word (link)

34:34 “There are two things intended by this CanCon production scheme. One is, it created an industry, and it certainly succeeded in doing that. It totally created a Canadian production industry. And the other thing it’s supposed to do is create Canadian culture that’s supposed to be of value to Canadians. I think we can conclude after a pretty good amount of time that it has failed miserably at creating that culture.” Jesse

35:00 The Littlest Hobo is a rad hobo dog solving small-town problems. It was the dark gritty reboot to Lassie we’ve all wanted (link)

35:05 “It is well past the time where the industry can continue to live on renting American programming. If we’re going to a pick and pay world, you’re going to have to give people a reason to pick and pay for you.” O’Brien

35:20 The Beachcombers circa 1975 (link)

40:01 Showmi hype (link)

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