The CRTC has influenced our viewing choices for a long time. It now recognizes that the masses are overtaking their influence and their approach to the broadcast industry must change if it is to survive.
The Chairman of the CRTC gave a long speech on March 12, 2015 to The Canadian Club. Here are some interesting excerpts:
• Technological change in particular has been intense and transformative. Radio begat television, television begat cable and satellite, and broadband Internet has changed everything.
• People watch content in the ways, on the devices and at the times that most suit them.
• The viewer is changing. He or she is being transformed from a passive receiver of television content to an active, self-directed aggregator. The fundamental question he or she faces nightly is no longer “what’s on?” but “what should I watch?”
The Age of Abundance
• Consider this fact: Canadians have access to over 1,300 hours of traditional television for every waking hour, assuming they do nothing else but sleep, watch TV and multitask for everything else. Moreover, it is estimated that 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day of every month.
• When it comes to video content, we live in an Age of Abundance. Content is everywhere on the Internet and on television. And it is available to us at any time of the day or night, on any device we choose.
• [The current] model will not work anymore. In the Age of Abundance, where people can pick from among a multiplicity of programming choices on as many channels, quotas are square pegs in round holes. The reality of this new Age is that quality matters more than ever before.
• Creators will have to work harder than ever before to connect with viewers. After all, what’s the use in creating the best content in the world when no one can find it and enjoy it? Discoverability is paramount
• Every year, billions of dollars are invested to create Canadian programming. Every society needs to make such investments in the arts, including in film and television programming. They enable us to reflect about who we are and where we’re going as a nation. But if Canadians cannot find these works, then surely both their intrinsic and commercial values are lost. Canadian programming needs to be more than just great. It needs to be found.
• Canada has outstanding and internationally recognized storytellers.
• As long as the story is told by a Canadian, let’s get the best talent working on it and make something that will conquer the world. Forget about the tagline “made in Canada.” We want content that is made BY Canada.
• We are now at a fork in the road. We can choose the status quo which has as a lynchpin a vision of the television media as being essentially linear. That path is known, it is tested; but it does not prepare us for the inevitable future – one that is wholly viewer centric
In his conclusion:
• As John F. Kennedy put it, we are not embarking down this path because the way will be easy and clear of obstacles. Even though it will be hard, we must take this direction. The world is evolving and we must prepare for the future before it is too late.
• Remember that, as is often the case with change, “it always seems impossible until it is done.”
March 12, 2015
Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission