Local Media Madness
Our national broadcasters and media conglomerates really think we’re idiots, don’t they?
First, they launched savelocaltv.ca. At ‘launch parties’ they had lots of local politicians making speeches and doing their best to get local air/face time.
Then, they launched LocalTVMatters.ca (with a theme song, nonetheless). I think because it had a cute little ditty from Dave Carroll, many people I know dropped their sense of media savvy and said it was time to start supporting this campaign, including a lot of my friends in more left-leaning camps. This is good propoganda that even Goebbels would admire!
Now, they have the StopTheTVTax.ca campaign trying to get us to petition the CRTC to end the fee for carriage charges supported by TV networks that will be levied against the cable and satellite subscribers.
Ugh. Where to start?
How about with the CRTC petition. I went to this page and posted this complaint to the CRTC:
I do not subscribe to cable, nor do I watch a lot of TV so I don’t care about the ‘TV Tax’.
In fact, it should be illegal for large broadcasters and cable companies in this country to use their air time to protest issues that go before the CRTC without giving fair voice to the other parties involved.
If you’re going to eliminate any ‘tax’ or additional fees on services, please reverse your recent decision to allow Bell, Rogers and other ISP companies to increase the cost of accessing the Internet.
If you can’t do that, reconsider your existence, because you’re proving to be very ineffective to average Canadians.
I suggest you do the same. Use content from this post if you don’t like mine.
In fact, I suggest it’s time we Internet users start our own campaign called ‘Pull the Plug’ which would be committed to educating people that it’s OK to cut the cable cord and to use the Internet as your sole media outlet. Such an effort could also be committed to finding ways to improve Internet service in Canada in lieu of expensive and bloated cable and satellite bills.
Next, I suggest you read this article from Clickz.com. The author is exceptionally adept at explaining that producers of mass content have bypassed all of the traditional channels and that broadcasters, print producers and other traditional media companies are f**ked. The term the author uses is ‘implode’.
In other words, it’s inevitable. It’s like a big recession that our MA-in-Economics-holding PM didn’t see coming, but hey folks, we can see this one coming. We’ve been suitably warned so throwing more resources after a dying industry is like spending billions of dollars on useless car companies (oops … we already did that, didn’t we?).
Social platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, WordPress, Facebook and other networks are allowing citizens to produce, share and enjoy any kind of content, regardless of location, access points and without heavy subscriber fees like cable bills. They also facilitate discussion, something we’ve never had with newspapers and TV shows.
Trying to defy this trend shows that these companies would rather bury their heads in the tax trough than push forward with innovative solutions that encourage everyone to participate with the creation of content.
Education and awareness are also central to understanding why the ‘LocalTVMatters’ campaign is a sham. As an aside, to my knowledge, there are no independent media awareness organizations in Canada, but it’s time we had at least one. Several would be better.
Central to this awareness effort would be the notion that Local content (and not TV) DOES matter, but not when it’s in the hands of our not-so-friendly media conglomerates. The educational process might also look at how it was bad business strategy that got our broadcasters where they are (ie. broke), with CTV and CanWest gobbling up local stations for billions of dollars. Such an organization could explore how their intended strategy of streamlining their content and force-feeding us with crap like ‘So You Think You Can Dance (Canada)’ all the while inundating us with Conservative propoganda about how well they’re spending our money has been a complete bust.
As another aside, there’s a critical issue to discuss here: if broadcasters fail (and they will), the Con propoganda machine will fail as well, because all they know is broadcast. They don’t know how to start conversations and they don’t want to because people will poke holes through their crummy economic facade in social forums.
Right now, the Cons are spending millions of dollars of taxpayer money on campaigns promoting the ‘Canadian Economic Action Plan’ as an indirect subsidy to these companies. This must end.
We also have to be aware that it is bad business strategy to force local TV stations to convert to digital broadcast. Analogue’s just fine, thank you very much. In fact, analogue is essential to getting a broadcast out to local users who can’t afford cable or who simply don’t want it.
Now, if we really want to do something with local TV, we would demand that all broadcasters, cable and satellite companies and other mass-media outlets allow citizens to generate and promote their own content.
Oh yeah … that’s what YouTube (and Vimeo and other online video services) is for.
It looks like we don’t need TV after all.