More than 150,000 Canadians “cut the cord” in just the last quarter

cord-cutter-hero
Image Courtesy: Techspot.com, Shuttersotck, Legion of Decency

In 2015, nearly 200,000 Canadians ditched cable television. That’s a huge increase from 2014, when barely 100,000 cut the cord.

It’s not that Canadians have stopped using phones or watching TV, of course. Instead we’re relying on smartphones and streaming content on alternative platforms, such as Netflix.

In fact, Netflix is largely responsible for the death of cable TV in Canada. Half of Canadians have tried out an alternative video service recently, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Canadian Television Provider Customer TV/ISP Satisfaction Study. 67% used Netflix, while just 16% tried Shomi and only 9% streamed on CraveTV.

According to the study, the number of connected devices per household has risen to 9.9 from 4.5 in 2015.

Netflix’s Canadian library boasts nearly 4,000 titles and almost 20% of Canadians actively use the streaming service. During peak Internet usage hours, Netflix content can account for more than one-third of traffic in Canada.

by Knowlton Thomas

Source: Tech Vibes

Local Matters

Radio profits in Canada increased last year.

Probably the biggest reason for this success is that you play such a crucial role at the local level, serving your individual communities. You have a huge advantage in that your stations—and your program hosts—are trusted curators of local content. Listeners turn to you not only for music they like, but also for news, weather, traffic, sports and community events.
The other big thing going for you is content made by Canadians, which you are experts in cultivating. Your businesses connect Canadians as consumers and as citizens to Canadians as creators.
Radio stations play a pivotal role in defining Canadian culture and identity by developing and promoting new talent. And Canadian content offers a prime opportunity to carve out a distinctive brand in a world that’s always on the hunt for new talent.

Stephen B. Simpson, Regional Commissioner for British Columbia and the Yukon
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

To the annual conference of the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters
Penticton, British Columbia
May 19, 2016

Side note: We were previously calling notTV Internet TV because that made the most sense. However, now with the rise of web series the term Web-TV seems more appropriate, because, it may make more sense to some. Although, maybe a poll will help determine what the audience thinks.

[poll id=”000001″]


 

Here’s the full transcript from Stephen B. Simpson’s speech.

Penticton, British Columbia
May 19, 2016

Stephen B. Simpson, Regional Commissioner for British Columbia and the Yukon
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
To the annual conference of the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters

Thank you for inviting me back to your annual conference and for giving me the chance to update you on the CRTC.
Before filling you in on our recent activities, I first want to congratulate the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) for nearly 70 years of service to your members. Your Association has consistently done an excellent job of promoting the interests of BC’s private broadcasters and contributing to community enhancing programs throughout the province.
Because of vertical integration, there is virtually always some matter before the Commission that involves some part of the large companies. That makes it difficult for individual licence holders to engage with Commissioners without compromising something either on our end or theirs.
It is important that radio and television broadcasters have strong and effective national and regional associations that can engage with the Commission and its staff.
That said, I can assure you that the CRTC remains fully committed to private sector radio and television and cognizant of the issues related to smaller operators. A number of the things I’ll talk about this morning underscore this point.

Radio

Let me start by focusing on radio. Congratulations to station owners in this region you’re your performance over the past year—quite the achievement, given the changes in the broadcasting industry of late.
So much has changed since the turn of the century, starting with the launch of the iPod in 2001. Satellite radio arrived in Canada a few years later and has grown ever since. In quick succession, Internet radio’s appearance sparked innovators like Pandora and Spotify. That happened around the same time that smartphones began to make their mark as source of information and entertainment. With these phones in their purses and pockets, Canadians suddenly had access to all sorts of online content on the go.
As if the technological revolution were not enough to contend with, the perfect storm really hit in late 2008 with the “Great Recession,” from which our country is still slowly recovering. No question, it has been a tough period for many in media.
So the fact that the 2015 financial results for Canadian radio stations, released by the CRTC a few weeks ago, show radio revenues remained stable over the last five years is a major accomplishment.
Revenue from local and national advertising hit $1.58 billion last year. And profits before interest and taxes increased by almost half a percent, rising to $303.4 million. Ethnic radio stations did even better, recording a 1.5% rise in revenues for the period.
Looking at the breakdown for British Columbia and the Territories, total revenues for 2015 were down about three-quarters of a percent over the previous year. But pre-tax profits were up by $2.5 million. That compares to a decline of $7.5 million in 2014. And overall profitability remained almost the same at 8.3%.
I realize these figures don’t compare with the “golden days of radio.” But I bet many other industries in Western Canada would be thrilled to report revenues and profits like these for the past year. So kudos to you for a job well done.

Radio advantages

Probably the biggest reason for this success is that you play such a crucial role at the local level, serving your individual communities. You have a huge advantage in that your stations—and your program hosts—are trusted curators of local content. Listeners turn to you not only for music they like, but also for news, weather, traffic, sports and community events.
The other big thing going for you is content made by Canadians, which you are experts in cultivating. Your businesses connect Canadians as consumers and as citizens to Canadians as creators.
Radio stations play a pivotal role in defining Canadian culture and identity by developing and promoting new talent. And Canadian content offers a prime opportunity to carve out a distinctive brand in a world that’s always on the hunt for new talent.
Half of the top 10 artists on the U.S. Billboard recently were Canadian. That’s an incredible accomplishment for our music industry.
Another important niche is cultural diversity. For instance, the Lower Mainland is one of the most multilingual and multicultural areas of the country, welcoming more than 20,000 new immigrants every year. This presents a tremendous business opportunity.
The CRTC will soon review its policy framework for ethnic radio services. As part of the review, we will ensure that the policy is responsive to changes in the demographic make-up of multicultural communities in Canada.
A further indication of this appetite for diversity is the fact that the CRTC has received 12 applications to operate radio stations serving urban Indigenous Canadians in major markets – including two applications to serve Vancouver.
We’re also pleased to see that some of you have taken advantage of our flexible approach and started to experiment with HD Radio. This technology enables a radio station to broadcast up to three additional stations of new local content on the same channel as its main signal. HD Radio has the potential to increase the diversity of radio services that Canadians receive.
All of this activity reflects both our changing society and the strength of BC’s economy, which is set to lead the provinces in economic growth again this year.

Radio’s challenge

As I see it, your issue isn’t access to world-leading talent or audiences, but the fact that music can now be packaged and delivered in countless ways. Online audio streaming services are opening the world to all kinds of new business models, rapidly changing the rules of the game for traditional broadcasters.
Regulators can’t stop this tsunami, especially when the apps driving the music world are everywhere—from the kitchen to the car.
Because it’s impossible, and not advisable, to try to protect the cultural sector from these trends even if we tried.
We recognize that creative content creates economic opportunity. And we understand that our job at the CRTC is to create the conditions that enable people like you to create—empowering you to introduce pioneering programing and business models that ensure your continued success.
The face of Canada—and its music—is changing, opening doors to new audiences and new markets, not only here at home but worldwide. Broadcasters need to be adaptable and versatile to stay ahead of the game.
For example, 60.1% of new vehicles around the world are expected to be equipped with Internet-connected systems by 2017, an increase from 11.4% just four years ago. And penetration in the US and Western Europe is projected to exceed 80% by next year.
How will you ensure that your brands stand out among the nearly limitless options out there?
National and regional associations like the BCAB have an important role to play in representing your interests—not only to government organizations like the CRTC, but also to the auto industry, device manufacturers and wireless service providers. Your associations are in the best position to ensure that over-the-air radio is easy to find on the connected car’s dashboard or that FM chips in smartphones are activated.
You’ve likely heard that the Department of Canadian Heritage has begun a significant review of Canadian content and the legislation governing the broadcasting industry. Your associations can also ensure your views are heard during this review.
Clearly, Minister Joly is looking towards the future, just as we have been at the CRTC. We have conducted major reviews to adapt our policy framework to new and emerging realities. These are linked to disruptive technologies and how Canadians are embracing them. There seems to be good alignment between the questions raised by the Minister and our own work over the last few years.

TV

What’s true for radio applies to TV too.
Putting additional pressure on broadcasters, television ad revenues have fallen sharply in recent years—in part due to competition from online businesses. According to the latest financial results, private television stations across the country brought in 2.6%, or nearly $50 million, less in revenues last year.
These shifting circumstances notwithstanding, the Commission believes profoundly that the Canadian television system should encourage the creation of compelling and diverse Canadian programming.
The importance of TV for Canadians was made abundantly clear during the Let’s Talk TV conversation. The CRTC engaged with 13,000 Canadians during the course of the review. It was during this process that we identified a number of challenges faced by television broadcasters at all levels—locally, regionally and nationally—in an increasingly fragmented media world.
More and more, Canadians are utilizing digital platforms to consume information and entertainment content—and even to broadcast their own. Canadians now have access to hundreds of television channels and countless online options, using almost any device, anywhere and at any time.
While there are diverse sources for news and information, journalists are trusted to gather and interpret the facts into coherent stories and in-depth analysis. They keep us informed and help us make sense of the world outside our doors.

Local television

Last September, we launched a review of local and community TV programming to ensure that:

  • Canadians have access to locally-produced and locally-reflective programming in a multi-platform environment
  • Both professional and non-professional producers and community members have access to the broadcasting system, and
  • Locally relevant news and information programming is produced and exhibited within the Canadian broadcasting system.

More than 2,600 Canadians provided their views on these issues, either through formal interventions or by leaving comments on our online discussion forum. This has reinforced that they care deeply about the news and information provided by the more than 85 private conventional stations and 160 community channels in their towns and cities.
Peoples’ attachment to their local TV stations was equally apparent during eight days of hearings from January 25th to February 3rd. Canadians told Commissioners they value local news for its capacity to connect them directly with their communities. Local news also helps them make sense of world events and enables them to participate in Canada’s political, economic and cultural affairs. These are strong selling points that broadcasters should be capitalizing on.
We’re still putting the final touches on our local TV decision, so I don’t have more to say on this issue for the moment. We expect to be able to announce the results in the coming weeks.

Consumer choice

Another major change on the television front as a result of Let’s Talk TV is the new basic package that costs no more than $25 per month.
Since March 1st, cable and satellite companies have been offering this package, which prioritizes locally-produced news and information programs that Canadians told the CRTC they value, along with public interest channels, like CPAC, and popular Canadian and American television shows, such as drama and comedy series.
They can then subscribe to other channels either individually OR in packages of up to 10 channels.
As of December 1st this year, channels will be offered BOTH individually AND in packages of up to 10 channels.
Canadians are pursuing these options. In the first five weeks, more than 66,000 Canadians signed up for the new basic television package. Of them, roughly one in three took advantage of the new packaging options by subscribing to individual channels, small packages or both. Some Canadians have told us that they have made changes to their television services that will enable them to save hundreds of dollars annually.
Some companies are also taking advantage of the new rules to offer consumer-friendly options that include the basic package at less than $25 per month.
The CRTC recently issued a notice inviting cable companies to submit their licence renewal applications. Part of the application process involves answering a series of questions related to the composition and pricing of basic service packages. We’re asking them to provide details on any additional products or services that consumers have to purchase to receive the basic service. They also have to include any additional terms, costs or conditions that differ from regular subscribers and explain why they’re being applied. The same questions apply to their services offered to subscribers either on a small-package or a stand-alone basis.
Despite criticisms and some media coverage to the contrary, the CRTC’s goal was never to ensure that subscribers would get more and better channels for free. We wanted to give Canadians the tools and options to find the value proposition that best meets their needs. It was a matter of offering greater choice.
The onus will be on the licensees to demonstrate how their plans comply with the CRTC’s directive. We are actively monitoring how the industry as a whole is implementing the new rules.

Adapting to change

Of course, the challenge in an age of content abundance and a world of choice is how to stand out. That’s the topic we tackled in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada. You will likely remember that the conversation began last fall with two pre-events, one of which was held in Vancouver.
The Discoverability Summit was held over two days in Toronto last week. This event brought together experts from a variety of fields, including content creators, academics, policy makers and innovators. It gave us the opportunity to hear thought-provoking discussions and ideas on a variety of topics related to the discoverability of audiovisual content. There were a number of interesting sessions, such as on the behaviours of millennials, marketing and advertising, algorithms and viewer engagement.
I’m sure these exchanges will spark further discussions among creators in the months ahead, and possibly even new strategies, tools, business models and approaches.
Canadians create world-class content that can compete with the best that’s out there. Audiences are hungry for new and compelling shows to watch. Discoverability is all about making connections between content and audiences, and between audiences and content, in this age of abundance.

Conclusion

As I’ve noted repeatedly this morning, the options to listeners and viewers are nearly limitless today.
It’s not the 60s, the 80s, or even the new millennium anymore. The radio and TV world most of us grew up with no longer exists. Tastes and platform choices are constantly changing. So it’s now up to you to determine how best to address this 21st century reality so your businesses not only survive, but thrive.
For all the changes, the one thing that seems constant is local audiences’ loyalty to, and dependence on, local radio and television stations. So, I’m feeling optimistic for your industry. If you continue to maximize your creativity and remain responsive to the needs and interests of your local audiences, you will succeed in keeping your industry growing.
I wish you every success as you do. Thank you.

Canadian Cord-Cutting Accelerates through 2015

Source: Ooyala Video Mind Blog

Ottawa-based research and consulting firm Boon Dog said the top providers were down 153,000 TV subscribers in their respective three fiscal 2015 quarters – record losses – compared to 22,000 subs lost in the same quarters in 2014.

In Q3 alone, pay-TV providers in Canada lost 39,000 subscribers compared to 4,800 a year ago, an increase of more than 712%.

“The ongoing trend of the cable companies losing customers to the IPTV companies continued with the latest subscriber results,” notes Boon Dog Partner Mario Mota. “Perhaps more importantly, however, are the significant structural milestones occurring in the TV service market.”

Mota pointed out that IPTV provider Bell now is the largest TV service provider in Canada, surpassing cableco Shaw Communications, significant because Shaw has been providing TV services for almost 50 years, while Bell began offering TV services 18 years ago.

Boon Dog also estimates that the number of IPTV subscribers will surpass DTH satellite TV subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Although the nine-month losses represent just 1% of the traditional TV service – Canada has some 11.5 million pay-TV households – the Q3 losses are indicative of a struggle that’s likely to continue.
– See more at: http://www.ooyala.com/videomind/blog/o-canada-cord-cutting-losses-accelerate-through-1st#sthash.1zu3FGah.dpuf

Cord Cutting

http://www.ooyala.com/videomind/blog/o-canada-cord-cutting-losses-accelerate-through-1st

CRTC News Release on the Changing State of Television and Advertising

While we have removed some text from this article it is still fairly long but there is a lot of relevant information that people may find interesting.

May 21, 2015 (Toronto, ON)
Tom Pentefountas, Vice-Chairman, Broadcasting

Thank you for your warm welcome. I thought you might all be depressed these days, following the finale of the Mad Men series. As this Forum makes clear, we’re entering a new ad man – and woman – era; one every bit as exciting as the earlier advertising age.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on advertising, of course. But I know – from the CRTC’s recent consultations … public hearings … and eventual decisions surrounding our Let’s Talk TV policy review – that a world of opportunity is opening up for your sector. I’ve come today to highlight how the Commission’s roadmap for the future creates new avenues for advertising. Before I do, I’ll provide a broad overview of what we set out to do with Let’s Talk TV … the conclusions we came to … and some of their implications for the future of TV advertising in this country.

Let’s Talk TV

It’s no secret to anyone here that the TV world is undergoing a profound shift; a shift being led by viewers, who are now in the driver’s seat. And one which demands that content creators and distributors, as well as television advertisers follow their lead to remain relevant.

Canadians’ viewing habits have evolved rapidly in recent years. They are migrating away from the traditional TV set and watching the content they want, where, when and how they want, using the latest technologies. The volume of content and viewing options available has never been greater. Consider that 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, of every day, of every month. That’s on top of the 1,300 hours of traditional television Canadians can access every waking hour of the day.

This abundance of content, coupled with new tools to access it, has empowered the viewer. It has fundamentally changed the roles played by mainstream broadcast media – including advertisers. As the CRTC’s Chairman likes to say, while content remains king, the viewer is emperor. And no amount of regulation can stop that.
So, with Let’s Talk TV, we set out to hear what Canadians have to say about the future of TV – what they need, what they want and what role new technologies will play in providing it. The CRTC also wanted to ensure that the new framework fosters choice and innovation … encourages the creation of compelling programming made by Canadians … and empowers Canadians to make informed choices. We needed public input to develop a forward-looking framework that ensures Canada’s television system not only adapts to, but capitalizes on, the rapid rate of change.

We listened to more than 13,000 Canadians who participated in various phases of Let’s Talk TV and received presentations from industry experts from across the broadcasting spectrum. Based on what we heard, the Commission concluded that we need to update our toolbox and challenge conventional thinking to respond to changing times. Old solutions no longer suffice. Protectionism is an anachronism in an age of abundance and a world of choice.

So, the CRTC is tearing down barriers to innovation that have hampered broadcasters and producers, and throwing open the door to new ideas.
We want to cultivate the necessary conditions for the creation and promotion of compelling high-quality content that audiences at home and abroad will choose to watch. And as a result, you can pitch sponsors’ products to these audiences.

The sand is moving beneath our feet and it would be irresponsible to ignore it. American broadcasters, too, have no choice but to change. Who would have guessed the Cable television Advertising Bureau would become the Video Advertising Bureau and now include the networks?

Key changes

I will highlight a few of our recent decisions, focusing primarily on content related issues since they are the most relevant to you.

We’ve decided that Canadian video-on-demand services will be able to offer exclusive content as long as they are available to all Canadians over the Internet without needing a cable or satellite television subscription.

Many stakeholders felt disadvantaged in the face of foreign online video services. Well, here you have it – a level playing field. Producers need to create innovative and appealing programming in order to stand-out in a sea of content. So we’re reducing our reliance on quotas for the amount of Canadian programs that local television stations and specialty channels must broadcast. Quotas simply won’t work in the future.

Instead, we are focusing on prime time. We’ve also struck down rules under which specialty channels could only broadcast certain types of programs. And Canadians will be able to choose the television channels they want – either on a stand-alone basis or through small, reasonably-priced packages. This paves the way for programming innovation, as broadcasters will need to be creative to distinguish their brands and appeal to viewers. We are not dictating business models; our objective is to foster a more open and competitive television market, and an environment that nurtures innovation in the programs Canadians watch.

Another significant change, we now expect all broadcasters to financially invest in programs made by Canadians. We will require a greater number of local stations and specialty channels to reinvest a portion of their revenues into the creation of made-in Canada content.
This shift away from outdated protectionist policies to expenditure requirements underlines that we want creators and distributors to choose quality over quantity.

Audiences around the world have access to the best content. If we’re going to be playing on the world stage, our content has to be of the same calibre. Otherwise, we risk being left behind in the digital world and becoming known as creators of second and third-tier content that no one wants to pay for or watch.
If you have a top-notch product that can take on the world and attract big audiences – the world is now your oyster. So, think big.

Let’s be world conquerors, not the conquered; the victors, not the vanquished.

Golden Age of Targeted Advertising

We may agree to disagree about a few of these things, but I’m sure there’s no disagreement that the potential for advertisers in this new age of television – whenever, wherever and however it is watched – is extraordinary. As you’ve undoubtedly heard this week, there may never be a better time to be in the ad business. There are all kinds of new approaches to advertising that are dramatically reshaping your sector – for the better.

Addressable ads

The ability to deliver addressable TV advertising is revolutionizing the advertising industry.
Addressable ads have far greater precision than traditional approaches. Because of their focus on particular consumer profiles, they can be directly targeted. And they provide immediate feedback from these audiences. This means marketers can both target and interact more effectively – tailoring and coordinating messages across TV, online, smartphones and tablets. The Television Bureau of Canada says that major media generated net advertising revenue of $12.3 billion in 2013. So, there’s clearly a lot of money – and opportunity – at stake.

Set-top boxes
Just as the era of Mad Men is passé, so, too, are audience measurement tools from the golden age of television.

We no longer live in a four-channel world where you get up to change the channel. As you know only too well, today’s 500-channel universe has led to audience fragmentation. And that poses major problems for advertisers like you and the sponsors whose products you promote. Traditional measurement systems are unable to capture these fragmented viewers. Knowing who’s watching what is critically important because measurement equals monetization. And we’re leaving money on the table when we don’t know precise market shares.

Proper measurement not only increases content creators’ pool, but also contributes to the advertising community’s bottom line. The fragmentation of audiences and multiplication of platforms and windows need not be feared.

Discoverability Summit

Something else coming along later this year is a Discoverability Summit, to be hosted by the CRTC. The Commission appreciates that making great programs and measuring their viewership is only half the battle. Great content means little if viewers cannot find it. For Canadian-made content to succeed, it must be widely available…visible on multiple platforms…and easily found.

The Discoverability Summit, to be held in the fall, will generate new thinking about tools and methods to connect viewers with content.
Algorithms – such as those used by online retailers to recommend goods to consumers – are among the tools used to connect viewers with the content they’re seeking. In the same way that big data is now being mined to target sales of laundry detergent, the likes of Netflix, Crave and Shomi are also finding innovative ways to capitalize on viewers’ shifting tastes.

Conclusion

All of the measures I’ve outlined today set the stage for an exciting new era in Canadian broadcasting that enables Canada’s creators – and, by extension, advertisers – to excel in a fast-evolving environment. Let’s Talk TV confirmed that Canada’s television system is healthy. We have the necessary financial resources in the system to create and promote great programs. We have the talent to bring these programs to life. We have viewers who are hungry for new and interesting content.

I think we need to have an outward vision. We need to leverage the infrastructure we have in Canada to seduce the world with our vision, our stories, our creative genius. Given the advertising industry’s proven track record of being bold and innovative, I have no doubt you will identify and seize new opportunities in this brave new world of television.

I am equally confident that you will continue be successful as TV advertising of the future unfolds.

Thank you.

CRTC Talk about the Transformation of Television

Montebello, Quebec
May 8, 2015
Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Here are some interesting excerpts from this talk about the issues that matter to us and are defining the future of the television industry.

The time to change and innovate has come. Your advantageous position is your springboard to the future. As Peter Drucker said, change is an opportunity—a chance. It must be seized. And the time to do so is now.

We held Let’s Talk TV—our national conversation on the future of television. In our ever-changing world, it is key that we update the regulatory framework for television. The system will follow suit to give you the tools and opportunities to compete and showcase your talent.

So you are at a crossroads. What will you do? Will you rest on your laurels, trapped in nostalgia, glorifying the past? Or will you take advantage of your situation to forge ahead and seize this golden opportunity?

We find ourselves at a time when TV content has never been as abundant. Supported by technology that continues to amaze us every day, the world of television is transforming rapidly. Competition has flourished, and comes from all over the world. As producers, your competition is worldwide.

The Television Viewer as Emperor

People view audiovisual content at will and according to their schedules. And although content is king, the viewer is now emperor.

We are creating an environment in which Canadians watch content produced by our creators not because it is forced upon them, but because it is excellent.

It should also be noted that we are bringing about these changes in a measured and responsible manner, and that they are centered on openness, innovation and quality.

Challenges

Public broadcasters have much less flexibility than in the past. The public is demanding greater investment in health, education, infrastructure and environment. There’s no point in kidding ourselves or being nostalgic: public funding will never again be what it once was.

However, you have the means to rise above those challenges. They are all the more reason to welcome change with open arms and think globally. You are now competing with the whole world, and that opens the door to international audiences you didn’t have access to before.

Funding

Now let’s talk about the funding system for television productions, which is quite complex and consists of a combination of public and private funds. Each year, Canadian television productions receive over $4 billion in public funding.

We need more large-scale productions to be able to compete with large international productions. We believe that there would be significant benefit in pooling our resources and investing jointly in large productions to show the world what we can do.

Creating the Conditions for Success – Pilot Projects

I would like to highlight an initiative that will encourage governments and partner organizations to consider more flexible and forward-looking approaches to the production and funding of Canadian programs. The CRTC is launching two pilot projects aimed at redefining Canadian productions. We want to broaden the definition of “made by Canada” to include large-scale drama and comedy series with budgets of at least $2 million an hour, as well as series based on best-selling novels by Canadian authors. Yes, it is true that both pilot projects are directed primarily at English-language productions.

Discoverability

In this age of content abundance, a critical issue for the success of Quebec and Canadian productions is the ability to discover content. And I’m not only talking about audiences here, but the world over. Content availability is not a one-way street. How can we make sure that audiences here and abroad can find our productions?

Even if, during our recent consultations, many stakeholders acknowledged the importance of the discovery and promotion of content made by Canada, few concrete proposals have been put forward to that effect.

Therefore, this fall, the CRTC is organizing a Discoverability Summit to explore the tools that could help TV viewers find Canadian-made content in this age of abundance. The Summit will bring together leading innovators and players in the public and private sectors from here and across the world. This will not be a regulatory exercise, but rather a chance to give free reign to innovative ideas.

The Future

It is now clear that the world of broadcasting is increasingly tied to the world of telecommunications. And while some of you are nostalgic, you are missing an opportunity to shape the future.

Today, Canadians rely on their connectivity in almost every facet of their lives. It is central not only to our economy, but to our culture as well. But technology cannot accomplish its mission unless it is available, reliable, secure, neutral and affordable.

That is why we began a major proceeding in which we will review the basic services Canadians need to actively participate in the digital economy.

We are looking at telecommunications services from every angle. We are asking such questions as: “What download and upload speeds are required in this digital age? Should broadband be considered an essential basic service for all Canadians?

It goes without saying that these issues affect you directly. Your market is increasingly dependent on the ability to connect with households.

Conclusion

My message today, therefore, is that the market is wide open to you, and we would like to help you conquer it. You owe it to your faithful audience to adapt to the future. To stay fixated on the past would be to its detriment.
Certain things must come into play—including change management—that may be more challenging for some industry players than for others—particularly those who do not put in place the means to adapt. Competition is coming from all directions, but you have the tools and the talent needed to remain successful.

The time to change and innovate has come. Your advantageous position is your springboard to the future. As Peter Drucker said, change is an opportunity—a chance. It must be seized. And the time to do so is now.

Thank you.

The Evolution of Television

The CRTC has influenced our viewing choices for a long time. It now recognizes that the masses are overtaking their influence and their approach to the broadcast industry must change if it is to survive.

The Chairman of the CRTC gave a long speech on March 12, 2015 to The Canadian Club. Here are some interesting excerpts:

• Technological change in particular has been intense and transformative. Radio begat television, television begat cable and satellite, and broadband Internet has changed everything.

• People watch content in the ways, on the devices and at the times that most suit them.

• The viewer is changing. He or she is being transformed from a passive receiver of television content to an active, self-directed aggregator. The fundamental question he or she faces nightly is no longer “what’s on?” but “what should I watch?”

The Age of Abundance

• Consider this fact: Canadians have access to over 1,300 hours of traditional television for every waking hour, assuming they do nothing else but sleep, watch TV and multitask for everything else. Moreover, it is estimated that 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day of every month.

• When it comes to video content, we live in an Age of Abundance. Content is everywhere on the Internet and on television. And it is available to us at any time of the day or night, on any device we choose.

• [The current] model will not work anymore. In the Age of Abundance, where people can pick from among a multiplicity of programming choices on as many channels, quotas are square pegs in round holes. The reality of this new Age is that quality matters more than ever before.

• Creators will have to work harder than ever before to connect with viewers. After all, what’s the use in creating the best content in the world when no one can find it and enjoy it? Discoverability is paramount

• Every year, billions of dollars are invested to create Canadian programming. Every society needs to make such investments in the arts, including in film and television programming. They enable us to reflect about who we are and where we’re going as a nation. But if Canadians cannot find these works, then surely both their intrinsic and commercial values are lost. Canadian programming needs to be more than just great. It needs to be found.

• Canada has outstanding and internationally recognized storytellers.

• As long as the story is told by a Canadian, let’s get the best talent working on it and make something that will conquer the world. Forget about the tagline “made in Canada.” We want content that is made BY Canada.

• We are now at a fork in the road. We can choose the status quo which has as a lynchpin a vision of the television media as being essentially linear. That path is known, it is tested; but it does not prepare us for the inevitable future – one that is wholly viewer centric

In his conclusion:
• As John F. Kennedy put it, we are not embarking down this path because the way will be easy and clear of obstacles. Even though it will be hard, we must take this direction. The world is evolving and we must prepare for the future before it is too late.

• Remember that, as is often the case with change, “it always seems impossible until it is done.”

Ottawa, Ontario
March 12, 2015

Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

CRTC eases Canadian-content quotas for TV

CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais
Regulator cuts local daytime requirement from 55% to zero, but keeps prime-time rule at 50%. CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais announced Thursday that the regulator is easing its long-standing rules for TV broadcasters over Canadian-produced content. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
The CRTC has unveiled a dramatic overhaul of its old protectionist rules for television programming, including the relaxation of its long-standing rules that require TV broadcasters to carry a certain quota of Canadian-produced content.

“Television quotas are an idea that is wholly anachronistic in the age of abundance and in a world of choice,” CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said in a lunch address to the Canadian Club of Ottawa.

But during weekday prime time — 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. — the requirement that 50 per cent of programming must be Canadian will be maintained.