Monday, March 09, 2009

More Black Monday? Or Just Waiting For Wednesday...

Two more articles to point out today...the first from HERE with the headline: CBS, NBC Buy Canadian TV Programs To Save On Costs

U.S. networks have made shows in Canada for years to gain tax benefits. Now they are buying dramas written and produced for Canadian TV and set north of the border. CTV, the nation’s largest private broadcaster, is sharing costs and will air shows at the same time. The results are licensing fees for new dramas that are about half the typical $1.6 million per episode.

“We may, in five years, look back upon all this and it’s a blip, but I don’t think so,” said Peter Sussman, partner at Toronto-based Aver Media LP, which financed “Flashpoint.” “The economics of Canadian and U.S. co-production create a model that can’t be ignored.”

The other article is from the Hollywood Reporter HERE, which I keep thinking may be a misprint as I've read nothing of this in any of the Canuck rags yet the headline reads: Canada Rejects Cutback On U.S. Series Buys

The Canadian government has rejected a proposal by the country's TV regulator to curb domestic broadcasters' spending on U.S. series. Federal Heritage Minister James Moore said Monday that Ottawa should not impose conditions or quotas on how Canadian broadcasters buy U.S. programming.

"(Canadian) broadcasters have their own business model," Moore said. "They keep their business models going forward as best they can. Far be it for me to second-guess how to run a broadcast network and programming."

His comments follow a CRTC proposal to use upcoming license renewal hearings to consider whether expenditures on homegrown TV shows should match those for American fare.

Domestic broadcasters contend that they require the profits generated by airing U.S. series to subsidize the production of expensive homegrown dramas. Canadian indie producers, unions and guilds favor the CRTC's proposal for a so-called 1:1 ratio on Canadian and non-Canadian program expenditures as a welcome measure to promote homegrown series production.

Moore said his job is to encourage the production of homegrown programming, a role that on Monday saw him move to merge the Canadian Television Fund and the Canadian New Media Fund into a rebranded CAN$310 million ($241 million) Canada Media Fund.

The CTF, the main source of government subsidies for Canadian indie producers of primetime TV shows, will be reformed to create more homegrown content available to Canadians over more digital platforms and to be sold internationally. Ottawa also will allow Canadian broadcasters to make their own TV series in-house as well as commission series from indie producers.

The federal minister made his announcement on the Toronto set of the CBS and CTV police drama "Flashpoint," a Canadian-U.S. network partnership Moore wants to see more of.

That Moore wants to see more of....hmmm.

If this Hollywood Reporter piece is for real and Moore has in fact quashed the proposed 1:1 foreign/domestic spend, then these two articles are essentially saying the same thing: look for more US/Canadian co-productions and partnerships, and these productions will be able to access and use up the resources and monies supposedly set aside for independent Canadian TV producers and production.

A brand new day for Canadian TV (as long as it has the U.S. seal of approval)? Or...yikes!

Who knows...depends on how it all shakes out in the wash.

1 comment:

Trevor Finn said...

That's exciting since it may give Canadian programming more validity in the US. And therefore, at least for those people that work on those shows, it will allow Canadian writers to work on US shows because it will give us those much-desired US credits. Of course, that also means it may siphon out those writers from Canada like feathers into a vacuum cleaner.