Here’s the best local news clip ever, as stumbled upon over at screenwriter Jim Henshaw‘s enlightening blog The Legion Of Decency:

That was Global News’ Rob Leth who performed that perfect 360 cartwheel in Riverdale Park, Toronto, about a month ago. A spokesperson at Global says the clip never aired, but it somehow got posted to YouTube anyway, drawing international attention to the ankle bashing incident. Even The Ellen DeGeneres Show came calling for the clip. Global turned her down, however, citing issues over unions and pirated footage. Seems Global didn’t exactly “flip” over this kind of attention to their news division.
Too bad–there are viewers in Canada who would pay to see Kevin Newman, Lloyd Robertson or Peter Mansbridge dodging tobogganists at the bottom of a ski hill.
Speaking of paying for things you can see for free, read Henshaw’s full take on that greedy cash grab the broadcasters are trying to pull this month in Ottawa. The posting, where you’ll see the Leth leap embedded as kind of an editorial cartoon, is titled “Nickeled and Dimed. Henshaw is rightly outraged at the sheer nerve of the networks, coming back before the CRTC hat in hand one year after whinging about dwindling revenues and extorting more ad time per hour. “But that apparently wasn’t enough for them,” writes Henshaw, who mocks this pitch for cable coin made last week by CTV Executive VP of Corporate, Paul Sparkes.

“Local newscasts do as much to forge the Canadian Identity as any other form of story telling, because after all, they chronicle our daily lives.”

Oy vey! Pass the barf bag! On top of this despicable pitch to collect welfare for just being on the air, CTV and others want the cable and satellite providers to also charge consumers for the convenience of timeshifting. You know, watching, say, American Idol at 11 p.m. on the Vancouver feed instead of at 8 p.m. in Toronto. What the hell?? These vampires will be after our bloody kidneys next! Writes Henshaw:

In his pitch for mere nickels and dimes from cable companies that he hopes won’t be billed to us, Mr. Sparkes conveniently ignores the fact that Time Shifting does more than almost any other element of the current TV landscape to increase the number of people watching a particular show on his network. And in increasing the overall ratings, it increases what CTV can charge its advertisers as well as providing the opportunity to produce more news releases bragging about how much better those numbers are than the competition.This is already making them a ton of money at no cost. But faced with a capricious public and either disinterested in or incapable of creating programming to attract them, the Broadcasters see a new “fee” as their best chance of remaining solvent.

If I was before the CRTC, my question would be this: what’s my best chance to remain solvent? Why is it down to me to keep companies like CTVGlobeMedia bathed in record profit? Why are Canadian viewers being ransomed for every last nickel and dime? Is it to drive us even faster to an all-digital, all-Internet, all-pirated entertainment platform where shows, not networks, are the only commodities that matter? Did the TV business learn nothing from the meltdown in the music business?

1 Comment

  1. That was terrific television – Global should have run with this as their lead – and the reporter had the good sense to finish his standup after he was thrown like a rag doll – what a pro.

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