Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reality Bites

"Canadians are world leaders in online engagement. Look at the numbers, not your assumptions and act accordingly."

-Wayne MacPhail, "Canadian Internet usage quiz -- surprise answers inside!"

Wayne MacPhail has some very interesting statistics for your online reading enlightenment on He writes:

"Canadians are the most engaged online audience on the planet. And, more Canadians, by percentage of population, are online than any other country. The Internet has the highest penetration in Canada of any G7 country. Seventy two per cent of all of us use it on a monthly basis."

"So, we are the most highly penetrated country, view the most content and spend the most time."

"That's a trend that's been growing, not just among young folks, but right across the age spectrum. According to 2007 NADBank data, time spent by Canadians on the Internet (as a percentage of time spent with all media types) has at least doubled in every age group, including 55+ since 2001. The one bright indicator for television? About 46 per cent of Canadians browse the Web and watch TV at the same time at least once a day. That said, at about 8 p.m., the Web's reach exceeds prime time television's in Canadian households." -

Taken from an e-mail I received from Kirstine Layfield, Executive Director Network Programming CBC Television on March 28th. 2008 regarding jPods' cancellation and basically dismissing the value of Online Viewership. The folks over at Save jPod called her out on it. Those of us who wrote received the same copy and paste info back.

Dear ______,

Thank you for your email of March 28 regarding our decision not to renew jPod for another season. I appreciate the time you have taken to write.

It is clear that you strongly support this program. And I agree with you. It was an excellent program, well scripted and well acted. All of us had great hopes that the program would find the audience it deserved on CBC Television.

Unfortunately, not enough television viewers shared our opinion. Throughout its season, jPod attracted a devoted, but very small following. And while it is true that, for a public broadcaster, audience size is not everything, you also cannot be a public broadcaster without a public. If too few Canadians are watching, we are irrelevant. And, if we are irrelevant, Canadians are right to ask why they are investing the money they do in CBC Television. In addition,"the Internet is not a medium that pays for the kind of production values people expect on TV. Until the reality catches up with what people watch on line, you can't justify it." -

Reality catches up. In his article, Mr. MacPhail ends with "Canadians are world leaders in online engagement. Look at the numbers, not your assumptions and act accordingly."

In February 2008, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (a committee comprised of various MPs) produced a report entitled CBC/Radio-Canada: Defining distinctiveness in the changing media landscape. The purpose of the report was to study the future role of public broadcasting, and to present the Committee’s findings and recommendations. All of the below statements, taken directly from the report, play straight into jPod’s strengths. From the Committee’s report:

“[CBC] must constantly keep up with new technologies and reach out to audiences where they are, including young people who seek content on the Internet.” (p.5)

“We are asking CBC/Radio-Canada to be original, of high quality and innovative” (p.9)

“Mandate of the CBC/Radio-Canada as stipulated In the Broadcasting Act (1991, c. 11, B-9.01, [Assented to February 1, 1991)(i) be predominantly and distinctively Canadian […]” (p 18)

“Dwindling audience share is not unique to public broadcasting, and audience measurement will need to adapt alongside the transition to digital media. Internet broadcasting, downloading and streaming content, PVRs and on-demand and pay services mean that the same film, television episode or news broadcast will be seen by many more viewers than those who tune in for ”appointment television”.” (p55)

“CBC/Radio-Canada’s online presence will be fundamental to its relevance to Canadian audiences in the future.” (p57)

"The Hour" Host, George Stroumboulopolous:

"Online is rapidly becoming king, not traditional TV platforms." they're not going to come to television - they're going to watch it however they want."

"Ten years from now, the cable channel isn't going to be nearly as important as the domain name., that's the television channel of the future. We don't worry about where people are watching us, as long as they're watching us." -

I may not be a Fan of George, but he gets the point across. Maybe he should have a chat with Kirstine Layfield.

Steve Tilley does me a Solid

"TV on the Net" Writer Steve Tilley obliges and reminds all of the awesomeness that is jPod.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The 'Corp(se)

I did a lot of venting on here regarding the CBC, but after my concerns just got continually passed around between the CBC, their Ombudsman, and the CRTC I had to step back for a bit. The Mothercorpse I have realized, must answer to no one. They have Carte Blanche and Canadians will like it, damnit. We have no recourse, we can complain and complain but it is all for naught. King Richard and Princess Layfield will do whatever the hell they want - and get away with it. So you might as well leave the muzzle on, because while we can speak our minds, no one who truly has the power to change anything will sincerely listen and take the appropriate action.

Yes, this all seems quite defeatist, but I just got so tired of not being taken seriously. I don't have any fancy titles in front of my name, I'm just a Stay-at-Home Mommy who foolishly thought my opinion counted for something in this country. My foray into trying to make a difference ended up in a big heaping pile of disappointment.

Maybe that's where I went wrong. I expected that as a Canadian, a Canadian Taxpayer, that my voice counted for something. That my suggestions or ideas counted for something. Don't get me wrong, I didn't ever think that I was going to change the world or anything, but I did trust, and wrongly so, that I would at least be heard.

But the Mothercorpse doesn't do that. Oh no. The Mothercorpse does whatever it pleases. The CBC doesn't care what Canadians think or want or deserve. As long as the big wigs are gettin' paid, pullin' in those big checks that we're all paying for, the Exec's at The Ceeb will continue to do whatever they please. It's very sad. This is our National Broadcaster but you might as well rename it "Television and Radio Corpse That You'll Pay 1 Billion Dollars a Year For No Matter What."

"Why does this bother you so much?" you may ask. After all, it's "just" TV and Radio. What I can answer is this. I was born in 1973 and became aware, very early on, of the Media around me. I grew up in a time that saw the explosion of Television for the masses. Pretty much everyone now had a "Tee Vee Set". While Canada was still over-exposed to American content, there wasn't so much that Canadian content got lost in the abyss of it.

I paid attention to home grown programming, my Parents made sure it was made readily available to me, and for that I will always be thankful for. One of my earliest memories was watching Cookie from the Original Kids of Degrassi Street go to the hospital for an operation, and when I went in for an emergency appendectomy at the age of 10 it was what I learned in that episode that chased away my terror. I loved watching the King of Kensington and feeling that connection of "Home" because Kensington was only a short drive away. It was familiar and comforting. It was Canadian.

Without even realizing it, the CBC fell off my radar. The extent of what I watched dwindled down to one, yes one, show, and that was Hockey Night in Canada. I was a Teenager in the 80's and early 90's and when I look back that's when I stopped watching. It seems that The CBC likes to forget there is a whole generation of viewers that exist between the ages of 12 and 40.

I became aware of this when a couple of years back I was surprised to find myself in love with a cheeky comedy called "The Tournament". It was funny and witty, well acted and had that once familiar feeling of "Home." It then dawned on me that "The Tournament" was the first Canadian produced programme I had watched on the CBC in years. Probably since The Edison Twins. I was surprised that The CBC was behind this production, and then even more shocked when The CBC canceled it.

For the first time in my life I wrote to the CBC. I let them know that I really enjoyed The Tournament and was disappointed at their decision to cancel it. Nothing ever came of it though, and I moved on... spilled milk and all....

When I caught a promo for jPod during a HNiC , I made a point to watch it when it premiered because it seemed right up my ally and hey, it was Coupland. People who know me will tell you it takes quite a bit for me to "get into" a show. I'm picky and not one to watch what is usually considered "Fluff". I'm not saying I don't escape into the odd show that would make some lift an eyebrow, but that is attributed to the "Train Wreck" factor. You know it's cringe-worthy but you just can't seem to look away.

Maybe it's because my parents exposed me to what I consider wonderfully produced shows when I was growing up. The Beachcombers, Read All About It, SCTV, W5, Bizarre, Hill Street Blues, St Elsewhere, 60 Minutes, Archie Bunker, Barney Miller, 20/20.... I'm glad they took an interest in what I viewed, and doubly glad that they always tried to first and foremost, "Keep it Canadian".

But what in the world am I to do with my own children? Yes, it can be said that the CBC has quality children's programming, but that falls right in line with the same Canadian offerings found on TVO and Treehouse. My two oldest though are almost 12 and almost 18. What in the world is there for them on The CBC? Sophie? Being Erica? Wild Roses? Please, they're teenage boys, not 50 year old women.

The CBC has canceled "Street Cents" on them, and The Teenager realized himself that other than HNiC, jPod was the only other CBC programme he actually made a point of sitting down and watching with us every week. They'll be no more Marketplace for him either if he was so inclined, it's been moved to the "Friday Night Death Slot", and we all know our younger counterparts are usually not home on a Friday Night watching TV.

Needless to say, after the CBC made the decision to cancel jPod, dumped the CBC Orchestra and made big changes to Radio programming, the whole Hockey Theme debacle, and my questioning the state of todays CanCon (or lack thereof) I became deflated. I had tried my best, but in the end I got absolutely nowhere. Passed off from one person to another. "We're sorry, we can't help you, but these people can." And then when you talk to those people, they say "Oh no, we don't handle that" and then you're shuffled off to some other agency or department. My mind was left spinning and I realized that I could raise any concerns I wanted but it was falling on deaf ears.

I've asked the question before: If the CBC is our Nations Broadcaster, why is it that us regular citizens are not consulted about what content we would actually like to see and hear on the CBC? I'm not saying they have to send out a questionnaire to every household across the country, but wouldn't it be a natural thing to comprise a group of us regular Canucks that could contribute valuable suggestions and ideas to The Mothercorpse? (And that's not a typo, I say "corpse" because it might as well not even exist for me, as in dead.)

So here I am, just about a year after I woke up to all of this, and this is where things stand for me. Over the summer I watched the repeat of jPod, and then was subsequently disappointed when I bought the DVD for the season and found out that every disc produced was defective and had to be returned. I bought the "A Bear Named Winnie" DVD by CBC Home Video for my two youngest, only to discover on the back cover that they were 100 years off in their description of when the story began.

I have watched Hockey Night in Canada twice, and just the beginning. Once to see the Leafs raise Dougie's jersey, and once to see them hoist Wendel's. I caught the CBC's new hockey song after wondering why they first opened with that "Saturday!" one, and immediately thought I was watching a rerun of Dallas when I heard the "Contest Winner". I get my hockey fix on TSN , Leafs TV and The Score.

I now catch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune on ABC West. I watched Stroumbo once to catch Joshua Jackson, and shook my head because really, The Hour is just a terribly hosted show. George may try, but in my opinion he just doesn't pull it off. I actually felt embarrassment when over and over everything he spouted just fell flat. I'm done with the 'Corpse, and no longer wish to have anything to do with it. I feel it does not represent me as a Canadian, I'm taking it very personal.

I'm sure I'll always think of this, it will always be one of those things that just saddens me. It might not be something that is on every Canadians' mind, but its on mine. I'll probably dive in here and there, but for the most part I'm stepping away from it all, and hope that one day the CBC returns to that familiar feeling of "Home" for me.

Until then, I take solace in the fact that Sophie is dying a horrible death (BBM Canada Nielsen Media Research Ratings 268,000 viewers Feb. 10/09) - just as I predicted would happen when the WGA strike was over - and in hearing Dolores Claman's Hockey Theme on TSN every week. How awesome it will sound during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Duh Duh Duh Dah Dah Daaaah!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Well, it's been forever since I last posted. To be honest, between just living life thankful to wake up breathing every day, and dealing with the sheer frustration that little ol' me cannot change the cards I've been dealt, it all got to be a bit much. I feel like the last couple of years have been some brutally wicked roller coaster and all I wanted to do was get off for awhile.

It's time to jump back into the Blogosphere again though... I've really started to miss it. New Rants and Raves - Coming Soon! (or at least after I've attacked the "Mountain 'O Laundry")