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.

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