CRTC chair goes out with guns Blais-ing at Banff

BANFF, Alta. — Outgoing Canadian Radio television and Telecommunications Commission chair Jean-Pierre Blais ripped into his industry audience Tuesday at the Banff World Media Festival. The speech –which at times sounded more like a scolding despite an even delivery — was vintage Blais. The long-serving civil servant, involved in many capacities in the culture sector, ends his five-year… Read on



Tide turns in favour of Canadian access to Super Bowl ads

A Canadian industry executive emailed me during the big game last Sunday suggesting the CRTC made the right call — watching the Super Bowl with the US ads is definitely a big part of the overall programming experience. Canadians have been missing half the story for decades. Outlets such as The New York Times offer play-by-play… Read on


Catching a CRTC Super Bowl bounce in Canada

It’s really happening: a legal, American feed of a Super Bowl game on Canadian TV screens. The CRTC mandated an exception to the simultaneous substitution rule and not even lawyers or lobbyists could stop it — this time. The hiccup will cost CTV millions and, really, that’s not fair. Nonetheless, go ad crazy, Canada. Things… Read on


All eyes on Blais, Joly at Prime Time in Ottawa

OTTAWA — The 22nd annual Prime Time in Ottawa industry conference — a good place to take Canada’s TV temperature — kicked off Thursday. Bell Media’s least favourite CRTC chair, Jean-Pierre Blais, managed to duck in and out without a single question about those Super Bowl ads. Blais, whose term as chair ends in June… Read on



This week’s podcast: funding Can-con in a global TV age

This week, Scott Thompson at Hamilton’s CHML wanted my take on a thorny issue stirring up plenty of controversy in Canadian TV circles: changes to the CRTC regulations regarding funding. The rule change that rankles many in the Canadian writing, directing, acting and production communities: shows now only need to achieve a 6 out of… Read on


Motive’s back–but why for just one more year?

Poor ratings aren’t always what kills a TV series. Case in point: Motive, returning for a fourth and final season Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on CTV. The Vancouver-based Howdunit pulls a steady 1.2 million viewers a week no matter when it is plunked down on CTV’s schedule. Given that it is 100% Canadian content,… Read on


This week’s podcast: fat lies and skinny basic

This whole “skinny basic” cable kerfuffle is radio gold to my pal Scott Thompson at AM900 CHML. He could hardly wait to dive into it on this week’s radio chat. Scott asks if the cable/satellite providers aren’t missing an opportunity by keeping this offer–a skinny basic tier of programming for 25 bucks–as far under the radar… Read on


Super Bowl hit for loss year-to-year on CTV

A dull, mistake-filled game plus good weather across much of Canada put a dent in Sunday’s Super Bowl numbers. According to overnight estimates, an average-minute audience of 7,324,000 Canadians watched Super Bowl 50 on CTV Sunday night, down roughly 900,000 from the year before. The 2015 game was a nail-biter and a record-setter, with 8.23… Read on