Monthly Archives: September 2013

Stephen Harper: The Last Advertiser

The world of advertising has been at a crossroads for some time. The advent of digital more than a decade ago has taken most ‘traditional’ advertisers by surprise and left them wondering how they can brainwash the masses.

Print producers failed to adapt because they didn’t see the massive shift to online classifieds and other ‘wanted’ ads, robbing them of a vital cash flow to sustain their so-called ‘news’.

Radio is intensely laden with garbage, people shouting at you at intervals between ‘oldies’ that loads of people just can’t seem to walk away from.

TV – the ultimate in mass marketing – is failing, especially in Canada because the masses aren’t following ‘the rules’ any more.  They’re going legit by subscribing to services like Netflix, quasi-legit by bypassing IP address blocking to get cool services like Hulu or simply breaking the rules completely by seeking out content and downloading it on their terms.

There are other basic formats, but you get the idea.

The mass marketers are suffering and near complete cardiac arrest.

In the short-term, they’ll make us pay for it.  We’ll mumble on about paywalls, paid services, custom channel packages and so on, but this will be short-lived.

The mainstream media companies will choke on their own fumes while Canadians find alternatives.  Refreshing, honest, legitimate alternatives.

What happens in this kind of situation is that mainstream media – if it fails – will no longer be there to be the voice of its owners, the country’s established Conservative minority.

So what do we do?

Stephen Harper’s Government(TM) spends hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money keeping the life-support system going with questionable, dubiously beneficial and possibly illegal propaghanda ads promoting its miserably failed ‘Economic Action Plan’.

Since taking power, it’s estimated that the Conservatives have spent anywhere from $500 million to a full BILLION on advertising their action plan.

NOT for the purpose of helping Canadians identify with what they’re trying to do, but instead to consistently subsidize the voice of Conservatives.

This must end.

Canadians have a right to know exactly how much has been spent (wasted) by the Conservatives on advertising and – more importantly – who the beneficiaries have been over the last 7 years.

Failure to exhibit this kind of transparency will defeat the Conservative promise to be more accountable and prove once again that they are liars and deceivers.

PS If you’re a Liberal or NDPer, question the tactics of using mass advertising when the money you spend simply goes against you.

Category: Uncategorized

A Unique Wireless Option

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Everyone is in a panic to create a so-called competitive, corporate option for Canadians as the Conservatives hustle to sell off the last big chunk of wireless airwaves (aka the ‘Wireless Spectrum Auction’).  Verizon has backed out, probably under pressure from corporate Canada, so what’s next?

I would like to boldly recommend a new option:  we ‘publicize’ the wireless spectrum that’s up for auction.

Of course, we know the Cons won’t go for it, but hear me out anyways.

First, what do I mean by ‘publicizing’ anything?  I’m not really talking about publicizing a book, but in essence, the pretense is really the same.  We make things public as opposed to keeping them private.

Frankly, it’s a nicer term than the harsher ‘nationalization’ term that got such a bad rap thanks mostly to the CIA protecting America’s international corporate assets, but it’s still pretty much the same thing.

Publicizing simply acknowledges that some things are better left to the government or a non-corporate entity to manage (example:  the CBC for public news and information, although they’re screwing that up badly thanks again to the Cons placing their own people in high places).

When it comes to the wireless spectrum, I recommend that we consider ‘loaning’ it to municipalities across the country.

Media companies – the CBC included – have failed Canadians miserably when it comes to basic internet, news and information services, such as emergency protocols and local content.  This is because there are no perceived economies of scale with local news and media production.

However, there is when you trust local citizens to produce and vote on the content.

I mean, what do you think Reddit is?  Or Progressive Bloggers?  Imagine reading headlines from the latter on a local radio broadcast.

If the airwaves were public on a local level, leaving the broader percentage in the hands of Canada’s media oligopolies (they do own 85% after all), Canadians would have access to the ability to take matters into their own hands.  This is not an option under the status quo.

In the US, a little known organization called Prometheus has put the power of radio into the hands of individuals keen on spreading local news and discussion.

I suggest we step things up – possibly in conjunction with the CBC – to create our own national version of local news and content that gets voted up or down depending on the geographic and topical relevance.  I’m sure someone out there could build a basic voting engine that captured some of the basic nuances of relevance (ie. should a story be kept local like ‘my dog is lost’ or should it be provincial or national like ‘my child has been abducted’?).

This, in conjunction with other social media tools, would form the basis of content for local wireless networks.

The technological side of things aren’t really a big deal either.  With access to local airwaves, local entrepreneurs could even choose to partner with the biggies if the wanted to implemented their own wireless internet.  With a little more electricity than it takes to power a lightbulb, you can power a radio station.

A national arbiter could be established that would monitor implementation for consistency and accessibility.  They could also look at rates charge (if any), costs incurred and help negotiate contracts with various providers of services.

Another angle on the whole concept:  complete public ownership.  Why are we as Canadians accepting no option as the only option?  Why don’t we lead a KickStarter campaign that focuses on the concepts above, with every Canadian chipping in the equivalent of one month’s wireless bills?  If you took $100 (give or take) times the number of subscribers, I’m sure you’d be in the billions pretty quickly.  Alternatively, you could look to the co-op model and share profits equitably across a broad spectrum (pun intended) of Canadians.

Finally, the whole system could become a valuable revenue source for local municipalities.  Instead of going begging for the latest penny or two from twisted old Cons like Diamond Jim, you could rely on your local community to fund the cool stuff like swimming pools, parks, bike lanes, public transit and solar cars (OK … I’m getting carried away).

The concept could revolutionize communications in Canada while also giving municipalities a much needed leg up.

Unfortunately, those in control will not listen, so we have to get rid of them before everything gets sold to Bell, Rogers and Telus and we ALL lose.

Category: Uncategorized