Friday, February 27, 2009

I Gotcher Cancon Right Here

I came across a very well written article in the Globe and Mail today. Not only is it enjoyable to read but it espouses some viewpoints very close to my own. I have often said that when I am king, the CRTC people will be the first against the wall.

According to their website, the CRTC's job is "regulating and supervising the broadcasting and telecommunications systems in Canada." This means that my cell phone bill is $50 a month because I have cut my usage to almost nothing; it used to be in the $100 range (and somehow Rogers lost money last quarter). It also means that when I listen to the radio, which is a rare occurence these days, I have to listen to at least some certain percentage of Canadian music, good or bad.

I can understand the want to maintain some kind of a Canadian culture, but I don't think that forcing it down peoples' throats is the right way to go about it. People, instead of being forced to consume Canadian culture, should want to consume Canadian culture. And there's lots of Canadian culture out there to want to consume. Watch Bon Cop, Bad Cop for a shining example.

The way to get good content is not to micromanage the cultural climate, but rather to foster creativity and a spirit of wanting to do something great. If I want to produce a Canadian television show and I know it's going to get played because of Canadian content rules, how much effort am I going to put into making it awesome? Probably not nearly as much as if I'm told: "here is enough money for a short production run. If you make something popular, there will be a lot more money." But maybe that's just me.

I disagree with the Globe and Mail article on one point:
The free-for-all of the Internet has not led to an abundance of high-quality free video content; it has instead yielded pockets of brilliance in a sea of YouTube pet videos.
This implies that all CRTC funding ever has produced excellence, that the CRTC has some magical ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. I disagree. At the same time as there is a lot of Canadian content which I love to watch, there is a lot of crap out there. Like, a lot.

And that's the great thing about the internet. With tools like facebook, digg and myriad bloggers and micro-bloggers, if you put something truly great on the internet, it will get out there. People will watch it. If it's awesome, they will come. And so, with the unregulated internet, we get the best of both worlds: anyone can produce content and nobody will force you to watch it if it sucks.

And if my internet bill has a "Canadian Content Levy" line-item on it next month, I'm moving to Norway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Moving to Norway probably won't solve your problem.