Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Math To Make Your Brain Hurt

Bill Brioux covered THIS earlier today, but I'd already written mine up before I saw his post, and figured what the hell....publish!

Canadian television nets have wrapped up their U.S. TV show buys for this fall...Etan Vlessing from the Hollywood Reporter reports back to Media In Canada.

Read who got what HERE.

It seems pretty pointless to list which show got bought by which Canuck broadcaster since we'll be able to see most if not all of them on the U.S. channel where the shows originate...but it does seem worth pointing out how much money was approximately spent.

From Vlessing's article:

The broadcasters went down to Los Angeles committed to buying fewer series at lower prices in light of the hard times, and avoiding bidding wars where possible. An informal survey of the studio reps reveals that the Canadians managed to pay around 5% less for programming slates, compared to 2008 pricing.

This comes a week after the following article from the Globe & Mail's Grant Robertson, where he reports how much the Canuck broadcasters have been spending on American programming of late:

Spending reached record heights for shows such as House, Grey's Anatomy, The Office and Fringe, in order for the networks to win the ratings wars. The broadcasters have told the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that these U.S. shows drive the bulk of their advertising dollars in Canada, and are needed to subsidize Canadian programming.

In response, a consortium of TV writers, producers and actors tabled a report in Ottawa recently arguing that Canadian television shows can be profitable on their own, if funded and promoted.

Amid the debate, the CRTC has been looking at ways to curtail foreign spending, which hit a record $775-million last year across several networks, including CTV, Global, CITY-TV and others. One proposal – a formula that would require networks to spend one dollar on Canadian productions for every dollar of foreign programming they buy – could be implemented next year.

Read all of Grant's article HERE.

Now, let's do the math. 5% of 770 million (yes, that's $770,000,000) is around 40 million dollars. So even though our private nets are spinning it like they saved money during these upfronts, they will still spend at least 100,000,000 and up to 300,000,000 more on foreign programs (primarily U.S.) this year than they spent last year on ALL English language homegrown and local programming combined (approx. 430 million, excluding Quebec).
EDIT: I keep receiving different numbers for broadcaster domestic vs. foreign spend in 2008...will try to nail down, but I do know it was much higher for foreign.

All this amid a recession, while the private broadcasters cry poor and pressure the CRTC for carriage fees, and CTV mounts a misleading and now seemingly contradictory 'Save Local TV' campaign....does any of it add up?

And with the recent cuts and layoffs and station closure talk, not to mention what I'm hearing from local producers about the difficulties they're having getting anything licensed or financed these days, you just know that Canadian domestic dollar figure is going to drop this year. The one-to-one spend really needs to be implemented and, now.

No comments: