TV News

Cable TV: Too big to not fail

FX_FXX

FX and FXX are quite vacant, confused and unnecessary. They’re the perfect example of some of what’s wrong with TV today (logo via Wikimedia)

We’re in a golden age of television, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you weren’t aware of it. With hundreds of channels, seemingly endless repeats and frankly a lot of trash on the air, it’s hard to find the gems in the rubble.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that many people are cutting the cord and young people leaving the nest aren’t even bothering with cable TV or satellite to begin with.

Yes, a large part of it is due to the cost. Rogers and Bell have packages that run up to or over $110/month, but don’t forget about installation fees, PVRs and other receivers and the super high cost of ethnic channels if you’re into that sort of thing.

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CBC bets big on the Olympics

The new CBC Sports logo (logo via CBC Sports/Twitter)

The new CBC Sports logo (logo via CBC Sports/Twitter)

It was a big week for CBC Sports. In addition to unveiling their snazzy new look, CBC announced that it has won the Canadian broadcast rights for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games and the following Games in 2024. Much like the other recent Olympic Games CBC secured the rights for, coverage won’t be limited to the public broadcaster. CBC has teamed up with Bell Media and their arch-rivals at Rogers to get the Games on the air.

So that means we should be seeing the games on CBC, TSN and Sportsnet as well as Radio-Canada and RDS in French. Considering all of the channels involved, it might make for a mess to find what you want to watch. However, CBC did team up with TSN and Sportsnet for the Sochi Games and the world didn’t collapse in on itself.

I suppose it should be more of a concern if anyone would really bother with watching sports on traditional TV in 2022. Heck, if Harper won the election, I wasn’t even sure if CBC would make it to 2020. While some folks had problems with CBC’s Pan Am/Parapan Am Games coverage, which seemed to rely too much on its finicky digital platforms, maybe watching sports via an app won’t seem like trying to fit a hippo through a hula hoop by 2022. Continue reading

Yankees at the Jays becomes Sportsnet’s most-watched series ever

Sportsnet (logo via Wikimedia)

Sportsnet (logo via Wikimedia)

Sportsnet shared some info on the Jays ratings recently, and as you can probably expect by now, the Jays are continuing to draw in huge numbers.

Actually, the three-game series earlier this week between the Jays and the Yankees was Sportsnet’s most-watched series ever. It drew an average audience of 1.9 million from Monday to Wednesday.

According to Sportsnet, Monday’s game drew an average audience of 1.8 million, Tuesday’s game delivered 2.04 million and Wednesday’s game saw 1.95 million tune in.

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TSN aired an Argos-Ticats game where? The downside of five feeds of TSN

Click the schedules above to get a better look. (screenshots via tsn.ca)

TSN (logo via Wikimedia)

TSN (logo via Wikimedia)

When I was piecing together the sports ratings last week, I noticed something a bit odd. According to the schedule page on the TSN website, the September 11 Argonauts/Tiger-Cats game aired live on TSN1 and TSN3, and it possibly aired on tape delay on TSN5, while TSN4 aired a FIBA basketball game. That’s a very curious move especially considering that TSN4 is the local feed for both Toronto and Hamilton, the hometowns of the Argos and the Ticats, respectively. So, what gives? If TSN didn’t muck up their schedule online, and that is in fact correct, it looks like TSN might be messing with the hearts and minds of Argos and Ticats fans for ratings.

You see, TSN4 is Ontario’s home feed (for the most part), but it also happens to be one of the feeds with the potential to reach the biggest audience (approximately 11 million). The CFL already has an audience, and by putting an Argos-Ticats game on TSN1, which primarily serves an area with a population of roughly eight million, and TSN3, which primarily serves a population of just over two million, it wouldn’t really matter much because the diehard Argos and Ticats fans would likely claw tooth and nail to find whatever out there channel TSN1 or TSN3 is on. Not as many people are into FIBA basketball, but by putting it on a feed that primarily serves an area with a population of 11 million, you have a greater chance of folks sampling it, don’t you think?

While some might argue that pushing a game on a specific feed might not matter that much, home feeds are often on a spot on the dial that TSN has historically called home for quite some time (and it’s often a great location, too), while the other non-local feeds are pushed off to oblivion, somewhere completely random. (My provider, Rogers, has TSN 1-5 on channels 494-498, but TSN4 is also on channel 30, where it has been for years, and channel 406. TSN2 also appears multiple times on the dial. It’s on channel 98 and 407, too.)

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The great Canadian kids’ TV hot mess of 2015 (or Family without the magic of Disney and other tragic tragedies)

Disney Channel Collage

Disney Channel is finally here! (It only took them a few decades.) However, Disney Channel didn’t arrive without completely messing with the kids’ TV landscape. (logos via Corus, DHX, Disney, Turner and Wikimedia)

The roll out of the Canadian version of Disney Channel has been quite messy to say the least. It’s easily the worst launch for an American brand in Canada since Target’s epic 25-month trainwreck escapade up in the great white north. Corus, the folks who operate YTV, Nickelodeon (Canada), Teletoon, W and others, snagged the rights for Disney shows away from DHX, the new owners of Family, and the Canadian versions of Disney XD and Disney Junior, leading to quite a mess and an upending of nearly every major kids’ channel on TV. Let’s recap what went down.

Gaming Show's Jesse and Ian play MLB 14: The Show

You better get used to seeing a lot more Gaming Show on Family (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

After losing the rights to Disney content, DHX’s Family, Disney XD and Disney Junior made a slow but steady shift away from Disney shows to in-house produced programs like Gaming Show (In My Parents’ Garage) and The Next Step and broadcasts of whatever random show they could get their hands on, like the original ITV version of The X Factor. In a bit of a surprising move, DHX also announced that Degrassi would be coming to Family. (How they expect to tone down an MTV series for their audience is beyond me.)

The planned logo for Telemagino. (Don't worry, I doubt the name makes much sense in French either) (logo via DHX)

The planned logo for Telemagino. (Don’t worry, I doubt the name makes much sense in French either) (logo via DHX)

It was also reported in the press that Disney XD was to be renamed Family XTRM, the English version of Disney Junior was to be renamed Family Junior and the French version of Disney Junior was to be renamed Famille Junior, but they changed their minds. DHX later announced that Disney XD will become CHRGD and Disney Junior’s French version will become Télémagino, while the English version will get the Family Junior brand they announced earlier.

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Link: Super Bowl Ad Challenge – Too Challenging for Canadians? – UPDATED [Sportscaster]

Here’s my first ever piece for Sportscaster magazine. Funnily enough, news broke that the CRTC decided to prohibit simultaneous substitution for the Super Bowl, starting with the one in 2017, just after this was posted. I also tried to reach out to Bell Media and the CMA for this story, but I wasn’t able to get an interview, unfortunately. 

Sportscaster magazine (logo via sportscastermagazine.ca)

Sportscaster magazine (logo via sportscastermagazine.ca)

With the hours counting down until Super Bowl XLIX, hype isn’t just building for the game itself, but for the lavish and ambitious ads that will air alongside it.

U.S. TV advertisers are again moving the yardsticks, with reports that thirty-second spots are selling for as much as $4.5 million, and overall sales are generally ahead of those of previous years.

As is often the case, if you’re watching the game in Canada, however, chances are you won’t be able to catch many of the hyped ads during the Super Bowl. Continue reading

How do you solve a problem like the CBC?

With the internet age in full swing, it isn’t uncommon to hear stories of broadcasters struggling to compete with each other and the internet. The CBC isn’t immune to any of that, especially considering they have to face many of the same problems private broadcasters do, but also issues unique to them such as the drastic budget cuts from the federal government. The CBC reached out to me and a few select others to discuss, A Space For Us All, their plan for the year 2020.

 

 
Their Plan:
 
In short, the CBC wants to be a more innovative, edgier broadcaster with a deeper connection with us individually and as Canadians on a whole.
 

 

The CBC doesn’t want to think of what they’re doing as a cost cutting measure (or even a response to budget cuts and the loss of Hockey Night in Canada), but rather a “transformational change” that’s “part of a complete picture” in hopes of making the CBC “financially sustainable.”
 

 

While they don’t plan to exit TV and radio, the focus is now on the web and mobile. The programming is going to be Canadian (duh), but also creatively ambitious and risky.
 

 

Part of their plan is to sell or convert “bricks and mortar” (spaces devoted to producing in-house programming) and using the savings to create high-quality content. Scrapping some “bricks and mortar” also means cutting jobs and working collaboratively with others.
 

 

The CBC is also going to aim at providing multi-platform sports coverage with the focus being the Olympics and amateur Olympics sports between games.
 

 

My Thoughts:
 
While the CBC has a good plan overall, there are some problems. I wasn’t able to address all of them during my time with the CBC, but thankfully I have this blog and I can really flesh out what I think about their plan here.
 

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