Wednesday, September 22, 2010

If Canada's Cultural Institutions Are Coming Undone, Who's Next?

At the moment, Canadian listeners are still unable to listen to the streams of most American radio stations owned by major broadcasters or the CMT site from Nashville due to "rights" issues.

How much longer can border barriers on any country's unique content like those hold up in the face of a huge global market and the money it represents?

If Ottawa lacked the will to do it, who does?

Much as I dislike the growing power of a small handful of media conglomerates, the agenda was set when the CRTC ruled the internet was outside of its jurisdiction. In that one fateful decision the future of Canada’s cultural institutions was decided on. The new world of unregulated media no longer is obligated to support Canada’s cultural institutions and without funding its Lady Gaga and Hollywood all the way to the bank.

For those that can remember a more giving time it is easy to wax nostalgic and cry a river over the loss of a Canada past, but in reality that Canada passed us by some time back. We just failed to take note of the fact. For good, bad or worse, protectionism is off the table, global influences are pervasive and unfettered capitalism is now democracy’s ungiving dictator.

-- David Farrell

1 comment: said...

At the CRTC hearing in Calgary in the acquisition by Shaw Communications of Canwest Global’s broadcast properties, Shaw told the Commission that it will give rival carriers equal access to Canwest
Global programming. That took some of the heat off
concerns that the large telecom firms were moving toward a content-exclusivity model that threatened to limit diversity and program options for viewers.

Shaw’s Chief of Regulatory Affairs, Ken Stein, said Shaw would use its Canwest content to negotiate
and trade for programming rights owned by others, not hoard it: “We would offer it to Bell, Telus and Rogers, just as we hope they would offer their content to us.”

But skepticism persists. A source close to the CRTC says Shaw may back off the pledge after it wins
approval of its Global purchase given the industry's current direction.

The hearing was scheduled for two and a-half days, with a decision expected within 35 days.