I have sympathy for the newspaper world, after all I have been a columnist for 12 years. I have been in broadcast for the same length of time but there are differences in the landscape for the respective industries.
Newspapers rely on local content. That is the whole concept of having a newspaper in a community. It wouldn’t make sense to have a newspaper in a town like Emerson or a city like Winnipeg if it only printed content of national interest.
With TV broadcasting it is a little different. There is not a focus on creating local content despite what outlets claim is their intent.
If developing Canadian shows was a clear mandate, the primetime hours on networks like CTV and Global wouldn’t be filled with American TV shows being broadcast at the same time as on U.S. stations.
While the big broadcasters are saying platforms like Netflix and even online piracy are affecting their revenue, they fail to acknowledge that they are spending tens of millions (possibly even hundreds of millions) acquiring the rights to U.S. programming.
So let me get this straight: a Canadian company spends millions upon millions to buy content from the U.S. but then says it can’t produce Canadian content because it doesn’t have the money. That’s a little backwards, no?
Some of the broadcasters say that they need the ad revenue from the high-profile American shows to have the money to produce the Canadian content. Isn’t that a weird business model?
I can understand having to put out money up front to generate money in the end but if you spend the money in the first place creating quality content, you shouldn’t need to fall back on outside entertainment for your programming lineup. Advertisers will flock to the great shows you’re making.
So, while newspapers continue to struggle with falling ad revenue — newspapers that use money to pay for local news coverage and content — the broadcasters are crying to the government for assistance with buying programming from another country.
Before you feel sorry for the major national broadcasters think about where they spend their money. It certainly isn’t to help Canadian production companies.