28 May 2007

Why are subsidizing these counterfeit Canadian TV networks?

The two private Canadian TV networks, CTV and CanWest, recently went on a huge buying spree in the U.S., continuing their trend to spend more on American shows than on Canadian. CanWest alone bought 13 new U.S. dramas. They did announce one Canadian production -- set in Boston.

In 2006, private broadcasters spent $478.6 million on drama, a 15 per cent annual increase, for American shows, and just $70.9 million, a 16 per cent decrease, for Canadian shows. That's seven times as much. As for overall programing, they spent $686 million on foreign programs in 2006, $619 million on Canadian programs.

Every penny the networks receive, they receive from Canadians. Their revenue depends entirely on advertising and of course the source of all advertising revenue is us, the buying public. Every time we buy something, we pay for the cost of advertising the product, and therefore, whether we like it or not
, we pay for the mass media (and yes, that includes the daily press). We have no choice, at least not if we want to buy food, clothing, gas for our car, and all those other mundane things. Unfortunately, this coercive subsidizing of corporate media we can do nothing about.

Government handouts to media we can do something about. Canada's broadcasters receive over
$200 million a year in public support from the Canadian Television Fund, Telefilm Canada, and several provincial tax supported programs. Considering that we already subsidize all their expenses via advertising, handing out another $200 million ventures beyond generosity into foolishness. That money should be spent on programming for the one truly Canadian network, the CBC.

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